Cem Catbas, Artistic Director

10534 York Road, Suite 201
Cockeysville, MD 21030

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  Baltimore Ballet Faculty 2022-23  

Cem Catbas, Artistic Director

Mr. Catbas is the Artistic Director of Baltimore Ballet School and co-founder and Director of Baltimore Ballet Company.  He danced principal roles with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet, the Istanbul Contemporary Ballet, and the Koblenz Ballet in Germany in addition to Baltimore Ballet.  Roles he danced include the title role of Dracula in Ben Stevenson's (Houston Ballet Production) Dracula, the title role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliette with the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet, The Monk in Carmina Burana (Kent Stowell's production from Pacific Northwest  Ballet), the title role of Peer Gynt with the Koblenz Ballet, and numerous other principal roles.

Awards he has won include the 2006 and 2002 Individual Artist Award for excellence in solo dance performance from the Maryland State Arts Council, Gold Medal in the 1st International Seleznyov Ballet Competition in 1991, and the Most Promising Dancer Award from the city of Istanbul.

He has a B.F.A. egregia cum laude from the Istanbul University State Conservatory where he studied with Ramazan Bapov, Nikolai Morozov, and Ludmilla Morkovina.  He has worked with Ben Stevenson (Houston Ballet), Patricia Wilde (NYC Ballet) Marianna Tcherkassky and Terrence Orr (ABT), Richard Glasstone (Istanbul Ballet), and Kent Stowell (Pacific Northwest Ballet), among others.

He has choreographed The Nutcracker, Pictures at an Exhibition, A Gershwin Rhapsody, Carnival of the Animals, excerpts from Petrouschka, and danced in and staged Scheherazade, Les Sylphides, the 2nd act of Giselle, Swan Lake and La Bayadere for Baltimore Ballet.  The esteemed dance critic George Jackson praised his "passionately stretched line, buoyant leaps and plush landings."

He has been a judge for several competitions including the Frederick Arts Council, and a panelist for Maryland State Art Council.  His students have gone on to dance professionally, have won numerous awards including 1st Prize at the regional Youth America Grand Prix Competition, winner of the MD Distinguished Scholar Award, and have received full scholarships to the School of American Ballet and other schools.  He has been interviewed on WBFF-Fox News, WMAR-TV, WJZ-TV, WBAL-TV and Comcast Local Edition.  He has given Master Classes in the US, Canada, and Europe.  He also has several articles on dance which were published at www.bourgeononline.com and he maintains an art/philosophy blog called "BARRE NONE".  He appeared in May and June issues of Dance Magazine 2012.



Valeriia Ivlieva Ballet and Variations (Guest Faculty)

Valeriia Ivlieva is a principal ballerina and the Deputy Artistic Director of Baltimore Ballet.  She was previously a principal dancer with Russian Grand Ballet, Kiev Youth Ballet, Kiev Municipal Academic Opera and Ballet, and Cairo Opera Ballet Company.  She performed principal roles internationally, and toured more than 20 countries in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Snow White, Carmen, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Carmina Burana, Romeo and Juliet, Odysseus, Zorba the Greek, Spartacus, Pinocchio, Cipollino, the Wizard Harry and the Snow Queen, Opera Aida, Pictures at an Exhibition, and Firebird as well as many modern and contemporary works.

Ms. Ivlieva has won the first place in 2005 Grand Pas Competition from Donetsk, the gold medal and a special award in 2006 Galician Terpsichore International Ballet Competition, and the silver medal and a special award in 2007 Crystal Shoe Kharkov International Ballet Competition.  She has diplomas from Kharkov Ballet Theatre, a B.F.A. from the Kiev College of Performing Arts, and a B.A. from the State University of Performing Arts Administration, all with honors.  Ms. Ivlieva’s name is included in the Honorable Book of Fame in Kharkov.  She has taught master classes in the US, Europe and Africa, and she was a Ballet Mistress/Choreographer with Mystic Ballet Company and Academy.  Ms. Ivlieva has won the best choreographer award in 2015 for her modern choreography and her students have placed at the Youth America Grand Prix Competition.  She is currently teaching at Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C.



April Giangeruso Ballet, Variations (Guest Faculty)

April Giangeruso was born in Washington D.C. and began her early training in her hometown of Ellicott City, Maryland.  At age nine, she received a full scholarship to the Kirov Academy of Ballet where she studied from 2001 - 2005 under the direction of Ludmilla Morkovina.  She also studied with Valentina Kozlova and at 15 years old was the youngest female finalist at the 2006 USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.  She has performed the Bluebird Pas de Deux from The Sleeping Beauty, the Grand Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker and Raymonda, and Medora and the Slave Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire.  She has attended the ABT Summer Intensives as a National Training Scholar, and in September 2007 she joined the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT.  Giangeruso joined ABT II in December 2007 and joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in January 2010 and became a member of the corps de ballet in June 2010.  April was recently featured in The New York Times, click here to read.


Evgenia Singur Ballet, Variations and Character (Guest Faculty)

Evgenia Singur was a principal dancer for the Russian State Ballet in Moscow, where she performed principal roles in The Nutcracker, Giselle, Coppelia, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Spartacus, and Don Quixote.  She toured with the company internationally to Austria, England, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, China, Indonesia, Mexico, North & South Korea, United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman), and Spain.  Ms. Singur began training as a rhythmic gymnast, then a figure skater, and finally as a ballet dancer from 1993-2001 at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and Moscow State Institute of Choreography before joining the Russian State Ballet.  She won the 2004 International Dance Festival in Korea, and the Silver Award in the 2002 Dance Europe Magazine Competition.  Ms. Singur recently appeared in the lead female role in Baltimore Ballet's productions of Scheherazade at Kraushaar Auditorium and Les Sylphides at the BMA, as well as a lead dancer at Artscape at the Lyric Opera House in July 2009.



Bat Udval, Ballet Ballet, and Variations (Guest Faculty)

Bat Udval Erdene is a former principal dancer with the Russian Ballet Theater and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as one of the world’s greatest male dancers. 



Leigh Targaryen Ballet, Variations, and Sleeping Beauty Camp (Guest Faculty)

Leigh has been dancing since the age of three.  As a youth, she studied under Towson's Children's Dance Division with Patty Enoch Bond where she was able to gain a strong foundation in R.A.D.  In high school, Leigh was accepted into the dance program at Carver Center for the Arts.  After graduation, Leigh went on to receive her Associate of the Arts degree from CCBC in Dance.  During her attendance, Leigh was awarded "Outstanding Dancer of the Year" for two consecutive years.  In addition, she received the only scholarships offered in the dance department, both years in attendance.  She graduated from Goucher College in 2009, where she earned her BA in Dance Therapy.  Leigh began her teaching career at age 11 as an assistant at Kingsville Recreation Center.  After three years she was awarded her own classes. Leigh went on to teach creative movement, ballet, tap, modern, & jazz to varying age groups around Maryland.  Her theory behind teaching dance is to inspire the dancers creatively while maintaining a technical balance.  Leigh's passion in the field of dance has led her in many directions, including costume design.  In 2006, she started designing and crafting dance costumes for herself and received several awards for outstanding craftsmanship at local and national conventions.  In 2008, she began designing and constructing costumes for several dance companies including Baltimore Ballet, Deep Vision Dance Company, Full Circle Dance Company, and Goucher College's Dance Department. 



Mariana Gatto Duran Ballet, Variations, and Flamenco (Guest Faculty)

Mariana is a classically trained Ballet dancer, an internationally trained Flamenco dancer, is very excited to perform with Edwin Aparicio Company’s premiere of Salvador at Gala Hispanic Theatre. Mariana performed in this summer’s hit production of Septime Weber’s Little Mermaid at Imagination Stage. In January 2016, she was the Grand Prix recipient of the Vienna International Ballet Competition (VIBE). Born Vidin, Bulgaria; grew up Washington, DC and Madrid; she studied flamenco in Washington DC, with Sara Candela, Estella Velez, Ana Martinez, Edwin Aparicio. Flamenco workshops: with Manuel Linan, Domingo Ortega, Familia Farruco, Carmela Greco, Jose Maya. International training: Amor de Dios & Casa Patas (Madrid), Farruco family (Sevilla), and Albuquerque Flamenco Festival. She has performed in many venues including Opera Carmen, Gypsy Kings, Embassy of Spain. Mariana studied at Kirov Academy of Ballet and City Dance with Ludmilla Morkovina, Anatoli Kucheruck, Andrea Long, and Stanislav Issaev. Mariana has received coaching from renown coaches - Dawei Zhang, Bat Udval, and Fabrice Herrault (NYC). Summer training included ABT as National Scholar, Sarasota Cuban Ballet, Ellision Ballet (NYC) & Victor Ullate (Madrid). She has danced contemporary pieces choreographed by Andile Ndlovu, Mimmo Miccolis.



Kira Weaver Ballet, and Modern/Contemporary

Kira started her dancing at the age of 6 in Lancaster, Pa at Lancaster School of Ballet completing up to Grade VI in Cecchetti.  Through her years of dancing, she has danced with Barefoot Dance Company, Lancaster Ballet Theater, Laurel Dance Company, and went to numerous East Coast Cecchetti Council Conferences at University of Maryland/College Park. With a wide range of ballet, modern, contemporary, character, tap, and jazz, Kira completed her training at Footprints Performing Arts and Morton's Dance Center.  Her experience in teaching ranges from all ages including ballet, and substitute teaching other genres.  She was accepted into Goucher College's Dance Program receiving the Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg 1921 Scholarships in Music, Visual Arts, and Dance.  Kira's time at Goucher allowed her to dance with Karole Armitage, Adam Houghland, Nicole Haskins, and Durante Verzola.  She graduated from Goucher receiving a BA in Dance with Biology minor.



Emily Runkle Ballet, and Variations

Emily first began studying ballet at Ballet with Cindee Velle, intensively studying with Caryl Maxwell.  In high school she attended The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia and received coaching by former dancers of New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Hungarian National Ballet, Ballet Nacional De Caracas, and the Bolshoi Ballet.  From 2008-2009 Emily danced as a trainee with Ballet Magnificat, America’s premiere professional Christian ballet company in Mississippi.  Her professional repertoire includes soloist roles with Ballet Chesapeake, Misako Ballet Company, Merge Dance Company, and New York State Ballet, and she has performed works by Balanchine, Edward Stewart, and Eva Anderson, as well as the full length classics.  Emily choreographs for both contemporary and classical companies and schools and has been teaching at Project C Studio since 2011, where she became Ballet Director in 2020. In 2019, she co-founded Ballet Embody, Westminster’s first professional ballet company, and has directed and choreographed full length performances such as Charrette and An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe.  Emily also founded and directs the Ballet Embody Student Company, comprised of Project C students pursuing pre-professional training and performance experience.  She also coaches students for ballet competitions such as the Youth American Grand Prix, and is driven to assist dancers in forging their own unique path in the dance world.



Cierra Vitek Ballet, and Tap

Mrs. Vitek began studying at Praise Ballet in Baltimore, MD when she was 7 years old.  Mrs. Vitek later studied at Towson University’s Children’s Dance Division from 2005-2008 completing the intermediate level II and the RAD exam.  She has taught danced with Baltimore Ballet in 2017-18.   Mrs. Vitek has earned her 45 hour certification in infant and toddlers and early childhood education through First Connection Childcare Training.  Mrs. Vitek currently enjoys Lindy Hop and Tap, and she is happy to bring her passion for dance along with 10 years of experience in childcare to Baltimore Ballet.