OREGON BALLET THEATRE
2011-2012 Season

PRINCIPAL DANCER KATHI MARTUZA RETIRES AFTER A 15 YEAR PERFORMANCE CAREER

Kathi MartuzaSeptember 11, 2012– PRINCIPAL DANCER KATHI MARTUZA RETIRES
Martuza completes  a 15 year career at Oregon Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet and will be moving into a position with Da Vinci Arts as their resident ballet instructor while launching a business as a personal health coach.

Oregon Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Kathi Martuza concluded her performance career of 15 years (6 with San Francisco Ballet and 9 with Oregon Ballet Theatre) in June, while performing Lambarena (recently featured as part of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Chromatic Quartet program) on an Oregon Ballet Theatre summer tour to Temecula, California. Martuza has accepted a part time position as ballet instructor at Da Vinci Arts Middle School and in November of 2012 will begin accepting private clients for health and wellness coaching through her new business, Empowered Health and Movement. She and her husband, former dancer Kester Cotton, are also pleased to welcome a new family member: Roy Martuza, age 11 months.

Kathi Martuza was born in Boston and began her serious ballet training at Maryland Youth Ballet when she was 12. She spent her summers training at American Ballet Theatre and Houston Ballet Academy. Prior to joining OBT, she danced with San Francisco Ballet for six years. Roles have been created for her by Christopher Stowell, Julia Adam, Mark Morris, Yuri Possokhov and James Kudelka. In 2005, Dance Magazine named her to its annual list of "25 to Watch" and in 2007, Ms. Martuza was featured on the cover of Pointe Magazine's October/November issue.

Dance Magazine said of Martuza, “[She] squeezes every last drop out of her movement phrases, mindfully shaping every inch of her athletic and elegant frame with quiet effort.”

Some of Kathi’s favorite roles with OBT have been Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, James Kudelka’s Almost Mozart, Christopher Stowell’s Adin, William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.

“To have a pas de deux for Adin created on me my first year [with Oregon Ballet Theatre] was tremendous,” she remembers, “and Aurora is a role that I never expected to have the opportunity to perform.”

A certified Pilates instructor, Martuza is currently enrolled in a program to become a health and wellness coach and plans to expand her practice to include private coaching for clients interested in transitioning to a healthier lifestyle through guided instruction in nutrition and exercise that is personalized to address each client’s individual needs, constraints and lifestyle.

Artistic Director Christopher Stowell says of Martuza,
“While I’m sorry to see Kathi leave the stage, I am so proud of her accomplishments. She was an extremely talented, brave and ambitious young dancer when I invited her to join me on my move to Portland, and blossomed into one of OBT’s most distinctive ballerinas. Her unique physical beauty and daring athleticism were an inspiration to choreographers and a joy to audiences. I look forward to seeing how she will help inspire another generation of dancers in her new field.”

Reflecting on her career, Martuza said,
“While I still very much enjoy dancing, I have found that I am ready to lead a different lifestyle than that of a professional ballet dancer. I will always love to dance, and I will always support OBT. While I spent 6 years dancing in the corps de ballet of the San Francisco Ballet, it was at OBT where my life-long dream of becoming a leading dancer was fulfilled. I am grateful for the experiences and opportunities I encountered during my time dancing here. I am grateful to have worked with, danced with, and learned from, so many wonderful and talented people. OBT is a unique company. I am grateful and proud to have been a part of it and I hope to remain connected to the organization in one way or another in the years to come.”

Portlanders will have the opportunity to recognize and honor Martuza throughout the run of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s season opening performance of Body Beautiful by sharing best wishes and memories in a commemorative book that will be available in the lobby throughout the run of the performance, October 13 – 20 at the Keller Auditorium. A special ceremony to honor Martuza’s contribution, with a video retrospective of her work, will take place before the October 20th closing performance of Body Beautiful , with a meet and greet opportunity in the Keller Auditorium lobby following the performance.

Fans can also honor Martuza’s career by contributing to a cause very dear to her heart: Oregon Ballet Theatre’s successful dancer Physical Therapy program. This program prevents injuries and sustains and lengthens the career of OBT’s company members by providing regular on-site access to trained Physical Therapy professionals who create customized workout, massage and therapy regimes that improve healing times, prevent additional injuries and support the total well-being of dancers’ bodies during intensive rehearsal and performance periods.

Donations made in honor of Kathi Martuza by October 19th will be recognized at the October 20th 7:30 pm celebration performance of Body Beautiful .

Kathi Martuza. Photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.
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