Kati Hanlon Mayo has been with the company for 26 years serving different roles. The Academy and Summer Intensive students know her as a teacher and mentor, however, patrons remember her gracing the stage. The academy got the opportunity to ask her a couple questions about her career with the company.
Question: When was your first season with the ballet?
Answer: I joined NCDT, (Charlotte Ballet) under the direction of Salvatore Aiello in January 1992.
Q: What was the first role you performed with the company?
A: The first week I joined, we began rehearsing our touring repertoire which included principal roles in Bournonville’s Napoli, Vincente’s Nebrada La Mer and Salvatore Aiello’s Symphonic Metamorphosis.
Q: What was the last role you performed with the company?
A: My last performance with the company I performed the pas de deux in Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Twin Cities in Alvin Ailey’s “The River.”
Q: Did you take a break after your dance career? If so, what field did you venture into?
A: After the birth of my daughter Lola in 2004, I continued to dance for two more seasons but the overwhelming desire to have more children and stay home with her during the day lead me to retire from performing and focus more on teaching in 2006.
Q: How did your dance career influence your family life?
A: My entire life has truly been shaped by my love for dance. I was fortunate enough to have a very full professional career and work with incredible people. Many of the dancers, directors and choreographers I shared the studio and stage with have become my second family and support system. My husband is not a ballet dancer, (he’s a civil engineer) but he can really cut loose on the dance floor at a wedding! (My son takes after him in that respect) My daughter is a beautiful dancer and she always inspires me with her talent, creativity and intelligence. I guess we could be considered a dancing family.
Q: When did you join the academy staff and what was your title?
A: I joined the Academy when it first began in 1996. I taught Level 3, Level 4 and the Adult classes. My teaching schedule always began at 6:30 PM after a full day of rehearsals as a company dancer so it was challenging. However, teaching has always energized and excited me and I am constantly trying to learn how to be better at what I do. My goal is to shape students into technically strong dancers, curious artists and well-rounded human beings.