VISCB Faculty

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Mary Carmen Catoya


Prima ballerina of Miami was born in Venezuela. She began her training at the age of six in Caracas and began her professional career at the age of 13. She danced with the Youth Ballet of Venezuela, the Contemporary Ballet of Caracas, Cleveland Ballet and as a principal with the National Ballet of Caracas, where she was coached and trained by Ballet Master Vladimir Issaev. She danced as a principal at the Miami City Ballet from 1999 to 2015. Ms. Catoya has danced extensively abroad at many festivals and galas in America, Asia, Europe and the US.

A multi awarded ballet dancer Mary Carmen have been coached and trained by remarkable artists such as Jose Pares, Vicente Nebrada, Vladimir Issaev, Rafael Portillo, Zane Wilson Karelia Moreno, Elena Madan Vera at the Ballet Nacional de Caracas, Dennis Nahat at Cleveland Ballet, Ileana Lopez, Violette Verdy, Jean Pierre Frohlich, Maria Cagliari, Mary Ashley and Edward Villella at Miami City Ballet. Her latest performances include, Poland, Mexico, Peru, Cuba and Indonesia next to her ballet master Vladimir Issaev.

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Johnny Almeida


Born in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. He graduated in classical ballet at the Bolshoi Theater School in Brazil.  Mr. Almeida danced for Companhia de Ballet Brasileira and Paulista Dance Company, both in the city of São Paulo.  Later he had the opportunity to work for four Years as a soloist at the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet ​Company in New York.  Mr. Almeida participated in several international festivals including the Youth American Grand Prix in New York City and The Grand Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland.


Cristina Amaral


Ms. Cristina Amaral was principal dancer of Ballet Nacional de Caracas- Teresa Carreno and trained with Maestro Vladimir Issaev during the 10 yrs of his tenure as Ballet Master of the Company. A very well-known and awarded ballerina she is very happy to join us for the remainder of the school year

She was born in Caracas, Venezuela and did most of her training at the Gustavo Franklin School of Ballet.

As a principal dancer her repertoire includes important roles by Choreographers such as Petipa, Balanchine, Nebrada, Mendez, Fokine and Alonso.

She received numerous awards at the International Ballet Festival La Habana, Cuba. Guest Star. International Ballet Gala, Caracas-Venezuela. Wolf Trap Festival, Washington, DC, USA. Dance Aspen Summer Festival, USA. United We Dance, San Francisco, USA. Outstanding Award “Relevantes Méritos Artísticos” del Círculo de Amigos del Gran Teatro de La Habana - Cuba. Outstanding Award “Star of Russian Ballet”, Caracas – Venezuela. Municipal Dance Award as Best Dancer, Venezuela.

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Lusian Hernandez


A resident of Miami Dade sin 2010, Lusian was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela where she started her ballet training at the Fundacion Escuela de Ballet Clasico del Edo. Lara. She has participated in international dance festivals including the Festival Danza Joven in Colombia and attended the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre in Minneapolis. She was awarded Bronze Medal at the International Ballet Competition

She has performed the repertoire of the company including Yanis Pikieris’ Danzon, and Issaev’s The Nutcracker, Chipollino, Suite of Waltzes, Dr. Ouch!, Shostakovich Suites, Vicente Nebrada’s Pentimento, Alberto Mendez’s Tarde en La Siesta, A Celebration to Klimt, Coppelia, Paquita, and Glinka Suite Fantastique among others.

She has completed the Progressive Ballet Technique Certificate and she is looking forward to obtain the Vaganova Teachers Certificate of Vladimir Issaev. She has been a guest teacher at the R. Schottland Summer Intensive Program in Lima, Peru for the last 3 years. Her students have been awarded in several important competition in the US including the Miami International Ballet Competition and the Universal Ballet Competition. She has been part of the faculty of Arts Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program for the last four years.

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Yasamin Haghayegh


She began her ballet training at Vladimir Issaev School of Classical Ballet at the age of 10. Since then, Yasamin has expanded her extensive repertoire by performing in all of the company’s productions such as The Nutcracker, Firebird, Doctor Ouch!, Petrouchka, Taiko, Suite of Waltzes, Fuga con Pajarillo, Harlequinade, Fairy Doll, Chipollino, A Celebration to Klimt, among other classical and neoclassical pieces, as well as contemporary pieces by choreographers J. Garant, Yanis Pikieris and Edgar Anido. She has also consistently demonstrated her vigorous dedication to her training, by attending all Summer Intensive Programs of Russian Technique. She has traveled around the world with the company to participate in various renowned dance festivals in Germany (2008), Denmark (2009), Mexico (2010), Poland (2012) and Germany (2014).

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Veronika Perepeletsina


Graduated from the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts as Dance Teacher and Choreographer. She is a highly established character dancer, with a particular expertise in Russian Dance. She was a dancer of the honorable A. V. Alexandrov Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army and of the very famous State Academic N.S. Nadezhdina Choreographic Ensemble “Beriozka”. Her technique combines elements of Russian dance and folk culture, bringing a new and exciting dimension to every performance.

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Paola Nava


Born in Maracaibo, Venezuela where she started her ballet training at the Escuela de Ballet Clasico Grazyna Yeropunov. Later in 2015, she relocated to the US where she continued her training at Vladimir Issaev School of Classical Ballet. Since then, she has performed along company members at Arts the Ballet Theatre of Florida. Her repertoire includes The Nutcracker, Firebird, Coppelia, Danzon among others. She has also participated in the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida’s Summer Intensive program of Russian Technique under the tutelage of Vladimir Issaev, Yelena Zabalkanskaya and Valentina Biczyna. She has also been part of the summer camp teaching ballet and other styles of dance. Paola is a recent graduate of Vladimir Issaev School of Classical Ballet.


Isabella Kennedy


She started her ballet training at Vladimir Issaev School of Classical Ballet and has recently graduated. Since a young age, Isabella demonstrated her passion for dance. She has performed an important repertoire of both classical and neo classical ballets including The Nutcracker, Firebird, Coppelia, Danzon among others. She has also participated in the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida’s Summer Intensive program of Russian Technique under the tutelage of Vladimir Issaev, Andrei Bossov, Yelena Zabalkanskaya, Valentina Biczyna among others. She is looking forward to become an elementary and ballet teacher in the near future.