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An Exclusive Interview with Mary Carmen Catoya!

BCNJ: How did you first start ballet?    

MC: I first started ballet when I accompanied my cousin to ballet class I watch and I love it.

BCNJ: When did you know you wanted to be a professional Ballerina?

MC: It was something inside me. I danced everywhere in my house. I decided to be a Professional Ballerina when I was 13 years old. I was offered a work scholarship at the Ballet Teatro Teresa Carreño in Caracas Venezuela.

BCNJ: Who was your favorite Ballerina or Dancer growing up?

MC: My favorite Ballerinas were Maya Plisetskaya, Margot Fonteyn, Ekaterina Maximova, Cynthia Gregory and Cynthia Harvey.

BCNJ: What advice do you have for young aspiring dancers?

MC: The Ballet and the art have to do with the soul with the heart. Enjoy every moment when you do; it is not only doing technical steps. Take care of your bodies. That is the instrument that helps you to be well, my parents always told me if you want to be a dancer do the best you can and correctly.

BCNJ: What is your most memorable performance experience/role performed?

MC: “Romeo and Juliet” when I danced in Madrid for the Kings of Spain and shared the stage with Maya Plisetskaya.    

BCNJ: Since you have danced around the world, which city/country was your favorite? 

MC: They are all charming and have different moments for example: Russia is energetic and enthusiastic. Paris is quiet and if they like [the performance] at the end they applaud with a lot of energy. Indonesia is wonderful and they love [dance].Italy is cozy. The United States is wonderful and they love [dance]. Cuba knows a lot in all aspects and very enthusiastic.

BCNJ: How did you come to be a guest dancer with Ballet CNJ? How do you know the Artistic Director?

MC: We worked together in Miami City Ballet and became friends. He invited me to dance with BalletCNJ when he saw me dance the final gala of the Miami International Ballet Competition.

BCNJ: Tell us about your upcoming performance with BalletCNJ! What Role? Who will your partner be? Are you excited?

MC: I’m very excited to dance “Paquita” is a majestic, elegant and technically demanding role. I am deeply grateful and happy to dance with BalletCNJ and share my art. I am very excited to be part of this wonderful production and see my friend Alexander again. My partner is Kleber Rebello, Principal from Miami City Ballet, I’m very happy to dance with him. We danced as guest artists in many different performances.

BCNJ: When preparing for a new role, what do you feel is the most important thing to make you confident about your performance?

MC: I prepare physically, mentally and emotionally. I research about the role, if it is a story or not, and I always try to give it a touch of my personality and my work.

BCNJ: Do you still get nervous before a performance? Do you have any pre-performance superstitions or rituals?

MC: I'm always nervous before going on stage, but when I go on stage, my nerves go away. I have to dance without the pressure that if I'm going to get it right or not, I work very hard to get the best out of it and of course, it's not always the same but I work hard so that each day is better. I pray to God and the angels to take care of me accompany me and protect me, always thinking about the positive and doing well.

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