New Academy Director at the BalletMet is tough on the toes!


Maria Torija doesn't dance around her words.

"Stop," she said to a student who lacked enthusiasm. "It [looks like] you're going to a funeral."

Torija takes her new job as academy director at the BalletMet seriously, and she does so for the benefit of her students.

"It's a hard profession," she told WSYX/WTTE. "There are so many dancers and so few companies, so you have to be good, and [I] have to help them get to their best."

Torija was born in Spain, but moved to New York at the age of 13 to study at the School of American Ballet under a Fulbright scholarship.

She remembers being drawn to the ballet, not because of what she saw, but because of what she heard.

"I think it was the music," she said. "When I was a kid, I remember my mom would put music on and I would dance."

Torija arrived in Central Ohio in April to assume her new role.

"As a dancer, it was about me," she said. "Now, that time is over, and it is about them."

You can see her next performance at the Rhythm on the River on August 25.

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