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Colorado Ballet Academy: Q&A with instructor Kathi Crum

Friday, March 07, 2014
Kathi Crum

Colorado Ballet is thrilled to present one of its newest instructors, Kathi Crum. Since August 2013, Kathi has supported the Academy’s quality training program, allowing all of her students a strong foundation of ballet technique, discipline, and self-confidence to achieve their greatest potential of artistic and technical expression. Teaching classes in creative movement through level 3 and eventually level 4, her inspiration has come from her passion for the art since a young child. “My philosophy for teaching ballet is to first honor the 400 year discipline, and my teachers, by maintaining high standards of technique, expectations, and artistry,” said Kathi.

During an interview with Colorado Ballet, Kathi revealed her true passion for dancing and shed light on what the art has meant to her. Below are a few Q&A’s with our new academy teacher:

What's your favorite part about teaching with Colorado Ballet?
Kathi: It is an honor to work with other distinguished members in the ballet community to maintain and elevate the caliber of ballet.  But having the company on-site to be an example for the students to strive for is a wonderful opportunity.

What’s your philosophy on dancing?
Kathi: Wow - a big question with a big answer... I'll try to make it short.  My philosophy for teaching ballet is to first honor the 400 year discipline, and my teachers, by maintaining high standards of technique, expectations, and artistry.  So I consistently evaluate the effectiveness of my own teaching and continue to learn from the best in the field internationally. To pass on the art I have to to get each child engaged, interested and excited about what they are learning.  Ballet and dance is a joyful expression at its essence, I take the balance of maintaining a hardworking, productive class in a positive, encouraging, atmosphere very seriously. Children thrive and learn best when acknowledged, are happy, and understand the expectations.  I insist that correct execution of the movement be strived for. I like smart dancers... when they are ready they learn why and how a movement is executed as well as to how to 'self-correct'.  In the end, I want each student to achieve their individual best technically, artistically and with good character.

Who do you look up to? Who are your mentors?
Kathi: My mother for always infusing the arts, beauty, curiosity, and compassion into my life. My first ballet teacher, Marsha Ismailoff Mark, for developing my eye for artistry. Trinette Singleton, for being exacting in her requirements for sound and clean ballet technique. And Marcia Dale-Weary for demonstrating the possibility of effective, high quality teaching and results with an unconventional performing career.

What does ballet mean to you?
Kathi: Ballet... I am honored to be a part of such a long-standing art. Ballet has been a part of my life since first watching it on TV as a 4-year and then live productions that my mother would take me too.  I have been very blessed to have had so many wonderful opportunities and to use those experiences to enrich my ability to teach my students.  Whether it's a student or an audience member, I get to brighten their day through the joy and beauty of ballet - how wonderful is that?!

What is your favorite ballet?
Kathi: I love watching the contemporary or neoclassical ballets, like Colorado Ballet's upcoming Ballet Director's Choice performances, for their innovation, creativity, and dynamics.  However, of the classical ballets, Don Quixote is always exciting to watch. 

*For information on Colorado Ballet Academy and classes please visit http://coloradoballet.org/academy/class-descriptions
*Kathi Crum’s full bio can be found at http://coloradoballet.org/faculty/kathi-crum

Summer Intensive Special Guest Instructor: Sascha Radetsky

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Sascha Radetsky
Colorado Ballet’s official school is known as the Colorado Ballet Academy, where thousands of students have been exposed to the highest quality of dance training and where many have started their careers as professional dancers. The Academy offers a Summer Intensive Program, where students are considered for the year-long pre-professional program as well as the opportunity to join the Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company. In addition to the various classes offered during the Summer Intensive, Colorado Ballet hosts special guest instructors. Students at this year’s intensive will have the opportunity to take class from special guest Sascha Radetsky, an actor and soloist danseur of the American Ballet Theatre.

Many recognize Sascha Radetsky from starring in the popular 2000 American teen drama film Center Stage, where he played Charlie. He also appeared in the hit Mandy Moore music video “I Wanna Be with You,” from the movie’s soundtrack. Radetsky had leading roles in the PBS television movie Home at Last, and the NBC television series Midnight Caller. Currently, Radetsky has been working on set in New York City for a new ballet drama series, Flesh and Bone, which is expected to debut on Starz in 2015!
 
Scene from Center Stage
This gifted dancer has studied on scholarship at various renowned summer programs including one of Colorado’s very own, at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, in Vail. He has also danced the works of acclaimed choreographers including George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Christopher Wheeldon.
 
Along with Sascha Radetsky, other special guest appearances during Colorado Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program will include Stella Abrera, Dana Benton, Gil Boggs, Erica Fischbach, John Gardner, Domenico Luciano, Valerie Madonia, Amanda McKerrow, Judy Rice, Igor Vassine, Dominic Walsh, and Sharon Wehner.
 
For more information regarding Summer Intensive 2014 click here: http://coloradoballet.org/academy/summer

Colorado Ballet hires Valerie Madonia as Academy Director

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Colorado Ballet has hired Valerie Madonia as its Academy Director and she will start on August 19, 2013.  Madonia most recently served as the artistic director of the Palm Arts Dance Program in Telluride, CO.

“It's an honor to be chosen to lead Colorado's premiere ballet Academy at this exciting time in the school’s history as we prepare to move into our new state-of-the-art studios in the Art District on Santa Fe in 2014,” said Madonia.  “I'm confident that as we refine our vision and raise the school's standard of excellence, we will become a desired destination for dance students from around the globe.”

Colorado Ballet Academy provides training to students age three through adult, beginner through professional.  The Academy has honed the dance skills of thousands of students and has started the careers of many professional dancers.  Students train alongside the professional Company dancers and have the opportunity to audition for roles in Colorado Ballet's professional productions, including Colorado Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker.

About Valerie Madonia

Valerie Madonia started her training with Maris Battaglia at the American Academy of Ballet in Buffalo, NY and then trained at the National Ballet School of Canada from 1975-1979.

She danced professionally for more than 20 years with the National Ballet of Canada from1979-1981 (under the direction of Alexander Grant), at American Ballet Theatre 1981-1986 (under Mikhail Baryshnikov) and at the Joffrey Ballet 1987-1997 (under Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino).  She began her career as a member of the corps de ballet and eventually established herself as a leading ballerina with the Joffrey.  Madonia had the honor of dancing with Alonzo Kings Lines Ballet, Armitage Gone! Dance, Complexions Dance, Inc., Alaska Dance Theatre, Russian Ballet Theatre, Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet, Configuration Ballet and at Le Gala des Etoiles numerous times in Montreal and Greece.  She performed the role of the Princess in Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in 2001 and with the New York Philharmonic in 2005, conducted by Alan Gilbert and accompanied by Pinkus Zuckerman.  In 1995, Madonia began organizing performances with other professional dancers to tour Southwestern Colorado and established her own company, Alpine Dance, Inc. from 1998-2001.

Madonia appeared in six PBS Dance in America Specials and is featured in four dance books including Classical Ballet Technique by G.W. Warren.

She has been teaching for 17 years, served on the faculty at the New School University in NYC from 2000-2003, taught for the Joffrey Ballet School since 1996 and directed the Joffrey School South Workshop in Georgia from 2003-2010.  She teaches biannually in Yokohama, Japan and teaches master classes at The Four Corners Dance Experience and for the Regional Ballet Association Festivals.  She is also an adjudicator and master teacher for the Youth American Grand Prix.

Madonia has been a guest teacher for: The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Alaska Dance Theatre, Louisiana Delta Ballet, Colorado Ballet and Boulder Ballet.  During her tenure as Artistic Director of the Telluride Society for the Performing Arts from 1998-2002, she helped found the Telluride Dance Academy.  She served as the Artistic Director and a teacher at the Telluride Dance Academy from 2006-2010.  Since the fall of 2011, she has been teaching and directing for Palm Arts Dance in Telluride, CO.

Her choreographic credits include a full length Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Polar Express, Appalachian Spring, solo works for the NYC Dance Now Festival, and for dancers in Colorado Ballet, Ballet West and Dayton Ballet.  Critics and audiences alike enthusiastically received her newest work, Shapeshift, commissioned for Boulder Ballet in 2012.

Visit www.coloradoballet.org/academy.

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