Torija comes to us from Marin Ballet, the same school where Artistic Director Edwaard Liang received his early training. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Ballet Teaching, and graduated summa cum laude with a master’s and PhD in Performing Arts from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.
While on the faculty of the Miami City Ballet and Miami City Ballet School, Torija organized and conceived a popular program for the Open Barre at the Miami City Ballet, inviting the public to see a demonstration of the progression of professional ballet training.
A native of Madrid, Spain, she began her ballet studies with Lola de Avila, Luis Fuentes and Carmen Roche. At age 13, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study for three years at the School of American Ballet.
After a short stint with the Ballet Nacional de España Clásico, in 1987 she began her 20-year career as a dancer with the Deutsche Oper Berlin ballet company, formerly the Staatsballett Berlin. During her time in Berlin, Torija performed in solo and principal roles in numerous classic ballets, including works by George Balanchine.
“[Maria’s] extensive dance and academic resume, combined with the innovations she put into place at the Miami City Ballet, made her a natural choice to lead the Academy and our 1,700 students,” Liang said.
Torija will join us in early April.