Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish was born in Manila and was the youngest member of Ballet Philippines. After receiving scholarships to Joffrey Ballet, The Graham School, and The Ailey School, she danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Ohad Naharin and Joyce Trisler Dance Company. She then joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as the first Filipina, where she was a principal dancer from 1984-1997. The New York Times described her as “a cool, still, lyrical center of the Ailey storm.” While dancing, Roxas worked with many of the most prolific 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. In 2017, she received the Ma-Yi Theater Award honoring her contributions to the Arts. After leaving Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as a dancer, Roxas was asked to perform on Broadway in The King and I as Eliza. After her Broadway debut, she returned to concert dance and made several guest appearances in the United States and abroad, as well as returning as a guest for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for many occasions.
She has taught at Tisch School of the Arts through Cap21, and the Actors Studio, as well as worked with Anna Deavere Smith at the Graduate School of New York University and was the Movement Coordinator for Let Me Down Easy. Roxas has also choreographed in several regional theaters and Off-Broadway. She was guest faculty at Harvard University in 2010. Roxas is continuously involved in re-staging ballets of Alvin Ailey’s works and is an integral part of the Ailey legacy. She is a Horton technique faculty member at The Ailey School. In July of 2014, she was invited and commissioned to choreograph for Yabin Wang in Beijing, as part of “Dream in Three Episodes” and has choreographed for Armstrong Dance Company in Paris, Ballet Contemporaneo de Camaguey in Cuba as well as for various companies in the United States. Her works have been performed in Bryant Park, Saratoga, NY, The Ailey Citigroup Theater and Marymount Manhattan College. In a recent development, she and Elena Comendador were joint-awarded a grant from the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) to collaborate on a wearable sculpture/dance project, in which Comendador is costume designer and Roxas is choreographer, in the Philippines in 2019.
She is married to Robert Z. Dobrish, a prominent matrimonial attorney in Manhattan.
Rehearsal footage from Ulysses S. Dove's Vespers
The New York Times. June 23 2000.
"Elizabeth Roxas was a cool, still, lyrical center of the Ailey storm."
New York Post. December 7 1990.
“... serenely radiant.” (Fix Me, Jesus)
Kansas City Star. November 4 1990.
“... astonishingly pliant and evocative.” (After Eden)
The New York Times. 1990.
“Elizabeth Roxas, especially, performs with dynamism as the seeker who finds love with Gary DeLoatch.... Miss Roxas twists and turns with deeply energized clarity.” (Landscapes)
The Oregonian. 1990.
“Individuals to watch include Elizabeth Roxas, a lithe dancer with long limbs and delicate features. Her movement style has been described as ‘achingly beautiful.”
New York Newsday. December 6 1991.
“... the fascinating Elizabeth Roxas, of the go-on forever extensions and the long hair to match, held the focal point of what in these times stands not only for what Trisler but for Ailey, and for all creators cut down in their prime.”
The New York Times. December 25 1985.
“... she moved quietly, without fuss, her assurance revealed that she was strong. The ensuing solo for her was filled with balances, and her extensions were high and beautifully sustained… Miss Roxas was also admirable in Alvin Ailey’s ‘Memoria.’ She was especially poignant in the elegiac first movement, where she emphasized her vulnerability with her sorrowful pleading gestures…”