Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

New director at Colorado Ballet's academy


Recommended Posts

Valerie Madonia is hired to lead the school.

In an interview before she left, Madonia said that while she will miss the people and comforts of Telluride, she is looking forward to the new challenge. As director of the academy, she will orchestrate a program that instructs more than 800 young dancers ages 3 and up with the intent of delivering the best of them to the Colorado Ballet Company. She will also preside over the academy in a time of flux — the school is in the process of constructing a new space with seven studios, including one that can be transformed into a performance venue.

Link to comment

This is a much-belated posting on the May 18 Spring Performance of the Colorado Ballet Academy. I don't normally bother with school recitals (except for some SAB workshops!), but this was the first by the new director, Valerie Madonia, and I was intrigued with the advance publicity that it would focus on great dancers and ballets from dance history. I'm also interested in how different companies introduce young kids to the ballet. In short: it was well worth the trip and I truly enjoyed the program.

The performance was in a large auditorium at a local high school, packed with parents and families. It used recorded music and no sets, but each group had a distinctive costume consistent with its theme. Altogether there were 23 presentations, about 3-5 minutes each, for all the different class levels and types. I was charmed by the care with which each group illustrated the look and feel of something from dance history, explained in a paragraph in the print program.

I won't slog through all of them here, but as an example: a large Ballet Level I class was inspired by Spectre de la Rose (taught and choreographed by Carolina Pahde Mallarino). The girls were dressed in white dresses, each carrying a rose. Then a young boy with a shiny red top raced through the group in various patterns and exited with the biggest jete he could muster. My favorite of the afternoon was the Ballet Level 3 (taught and choreographed by Jacob Taylor) in an excerpt inspired by Dances at a Gathering, the movement with three couples in increasingly risky lifts and throws. Other inspirations included Giselle, Dying Swan, La Bayadere, Graduation Ball, Paquita, Romeo and Juliet, and La Sylphide (as well as a few modern, tap, and jazz segments). I imagine the young students learned a lot developing their dance for the program, but I think the audience also learned a lot about the range of ballet and dance. I can't imagine how they'll top themselves in 2015!

Edited by California
Link to comment

This sounds fascinating -- I'm always thrilled when people examine the history of the art form. The Joffrey has had one of the most diverse repertories in the US, so Madonia may be drawing on that part of her background, but whatever the reason, this is big fun!

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...