Merey Ismailova
Dancer, choreographer, teacher

Merey Ismailova is an award-winning dancer, choreographer and physical theatre artist based in Toronto, Canada. Her choreographic and physical theatre works have been presented at numerous events in Toronto and Ontario. 
Merey Ismailova originally from Almaty, Kazakhstan, began her dance training at the age of 10 studying ballroom dance. At the age of 14 she became a member of La Pasion Dance company (Almaty) and 3 years later one of the solo dancers of the company. The company specialized in commercial and folk dance styles, such as flamenco, belly dance, Latin American dances, Kazakh, Russian, Ukrainian and Gypsy traditional dance. She extensively performed with the company and gained numerous awards in the national and international dance competitions in Kazakhstan.

At the age of 18 Merey started teaching children and adults in dance schools and musical theatre studios, and her students showed high results in performing art competitions in Almaty City. 

At the age of 20 Merey started extensive training in contemporary dance and moved to Moscow, Russia. She studied ballet and modern dance at the Sputnik school for choreographers with the most renowned dance teachers of Russia including Tatiana Smirnova and Margarita Polyakova. She had a chance to perform as a member of award-winning Avantyura physical theatre company under the direction of Tatyana Lezhneva in Moscow. Being involved in the theatre and dance theatre productions shaped her artistic vision and desire to bring theatre and dance together and create powerful emotional pieces.

In 2009 Merey moved to Toronto and started her professional dance training at the Ballet Creole School, where she has been studying modern dance, jazz and Afro-Caribbean folk dances.

Merey already has numerous original choreography works performed in Toronto, Central Asia and Russia. In her choreography Merey uses her knowledge of different cultures and traditions gained though traveling and studying folk dances. She has been always seeking to broaden her artistic knowledge by taking workshops and classes in musical theatre, musical theory, stage combat, improvisation, acro yoga. 

Right now Merey is actively involved in the art community of Toronto. Merey is an artistic director of The Ismailova Theatre of Dance, where with a group of dancers she creates original choreography that tells stories of people’s lives, feelings and dreams. 

Merey Ismailova’s work was recognized by the RBC Newcomer Artist Award in 2015. 

While focusing on choreographing and producing, Merey has also had an honour to work with renowned Cuban-Canadian choreographer Jose Carret, learn from him and perform in his dance theatre productions. Merey was also happy to work as a movement instructor with Mexican theatre company Double Double Performing Arts and Amazing Cat Productions Russian theatre company in the GTA

Photo credits: Elmira Kurmakaeva, Veronika Braterskaya

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