Performing Arts

Mary Carmen Catoya joins Arts Ballet Theatre

Former Miami City Ballet leading ballerina Mary Carmen Catoya is joining the Arts Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer.
Former Miami City Ballet leading ballerina Mary Carmen Catoya is joining the Arts Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer.

Mary Carmen Catoya, the longtime former leading ballerina with Miami City Ballet (MCB) who was let go from the company at the end of last season, has joined her former teacher at the North Miami troupe Arts Ballet Theatre (ABT). Catoya, 41, will be a principal dancer this season at ABT. The company is led by Vladimir Issaev, who was a teacher and coach to the teenage Catoya in her native Venezuela.

“I’m excited, thrilled and thankful,” said Catoya. “As an artist, a dancer, I always thought that working again with the teachers you worked with at a young age is wonderful, and now I have that opportunity.”

Issaev, 61, was born and trained in Russia but emigrated in 1987 to Venezuela, where he was ballet master and coach to the young Catoya at the Ballet Nacional de Caracas, shaping the bravura technique and radiant dancing that made her one of MCB’s most appealing and accomplished performers from 1999 to 2015. Among her memorable roles were the leads in Don Quixote and Coppelia, as well as the central parts in some of George Balanchine’s grandest neoclassical works, such as Ballet Imperial, Ballo della Regina, Theme and Variations, and Symphony in C.

Issaev came to Miami in 1997, teaching at the MCB school until 2002. Catoya continued to dance occasionally with her former teacher here, performing guest roles at ABT, a small troupe supplemented by students at Issaev’s North Miami school.

For ABT’s 2015-2016 season, Catoya will perform excerpts from Don Quixote and from Laurencia, a rarely seen 1939 dramatic ballet by the Soviet-era choreographer Vakhtang Chabukiani, which was performed in 1956 by the legendary Maya Plisetskaya.

She will also dance in a new work being created by Cuban choreographer Alberto Mendez, who is a guest artist at ABT.

For tickets and information, call 305-947-3998 or visit artsballettheatre.org.

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