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Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish

Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish was born in Manila and was the youngest member of Ballet Philippines. She came to New York City in 1979, receiving scholarships to The Joffrey Ballet School, The Graham School, and The Ailey School.  Elizabeth also danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Ohad Naharin, and Joyce Trisler Danscompany. She then joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Company as its first Filipina dancer, and was a principal from 1984-1997. The New York Times described her as “a cool, still, lyrical center of the Ailey storm.”  During her career, Roxas worked with some of the most prominent choreographers, including Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, Jerome Robbins, Talley Beatty, Lar Lubovitch, John Butler, Ulysses Dove, and Judith Jamison. Roxas performed in the Emmy award-winning PBS specials Two by Dove and Judith Jamison’s A Hymn for Alvin Ailey. In 1997, she was featured in Dance Magazine’s cover article and named by Avenue Magazine as one of the 500 most influential Asian-Americans. The Ma-Yi Theater Award was given to her in 2017, honoring her contributions to the arts. After leaving Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Roxas was asked to perform on Broadway in The King and I as Eliza. After her Broadway debut, she returned to concert dance, making several guest appearances in the United States and abroad, as well as with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Roxas has taught at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts through the Cap21 program and the Graduate School. She was the movement coordinator for the Off-Broadway production of Let Me Down Easy. She has worked as guest faculty at universities including Harvard, Sarah Lawrence, and Marymount Manhattan. Roxas is a Horton technique faculty member at The Ailey School and is continuously involved in re-staging Alvin Ailey’s works and is an integral part of the Ailey legacy.

Roxas has also choreographed in several regional theaters. She was invited and commissioned to choreograph in China, Cuba, and France as well as companies in the United States. The Asian Cultural Council awarded her a grant to collaborate on a wearable sculpture/dance project which premiered in the Philippines in 2019. She was asked to create a zoom choreography for the 2020 SOHO International Film Festival, as well as for the Philippine Dance Festival 2021 during the pandemic. In 2022 she created mediAcation for Ailey II in 2022.

She is married to Robert Z. Dobrish, a prominent matrimonial attorney in Manhattan.