: Academy Faculty and Staff
Academy Faculty and Staff
Academy Director - Valerie Madonia
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 from 1979-1981 (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
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.
Academy Principal- Erica Fischbach
Principal Erica Fischbach
enjoyed a 20-year professional ballet career with the American Ballet Theatre
and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. She has been the Artistic Director and principal
ballet teacher of Southhold Dance Theatre in South Bend, Indiana for the past
nine years. Ms. Fischbach is an American Ballet Theatre Curriculum certified
teacher as well as a certified Gyrotonic instructor. She is an annual teacher
at the Cecchetti Council of America summer program.
Fischbach began her training in Ballet and Highland Dance with Theresa
Bullard’s Kalamazoo Ballet Company at the age of seven. When she was 12, her
family moved to Milwaukee, where she studied on scholarship at the Milwaukee
Ballet under the direction of Ted Kivett and Basil Thompson, and trained
privately with former Israeli Ballet principal Mariana Sachs Laufer. At 15, Ms.
Fischbach was awarded a scholarship to attend the North Carolina School of the
Arts for three years where she studied primarily with NYCB’s Melissa Hayden, Mimi
Paul, ABT’s Fanchon Cordell, and Ballet Russe’s Duncan Noble.
her first months as a professional dancer, Ms. Fischbach had the privilege of
dancing Balanchine ballets as a principal under the direction of Edward
Villella. She then moved to Pacific Northwest Ballet where she quickly rose to
soloist rank. After nine years with PNB, Ms. Fischbach took two years away from
company life and freelanced as a principal guest artist, guest teacher, and
taught Pilates and Gyrotonic based classes. In 1996 she was invited to join the
American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Kevin McKenzie, where she danced
until 2005. Ms. Fischbach had roles created for her in world premier ballets by
Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, and Kevin McKenzie. She
also enjoyed featured roles in many of the company’s full length classical
repertoire. On September 8, 2001, Ms. Fischbach was featured as a principal
guest artist for Twyla Tharp performing Tharp’s “Sinatra Suite” at the World
Trade Center in New York City. Ms. Fischbach has been featured in several Dance in America films, the
and Center Stage.
Ms. Fischbach’s tenure at Southold Dance Theater, the school and youth company
became a prominent presence at the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP)
competition. Since 2009, the Southold Youth Company dancers have won 1st place
in the Pas de Deux, Classical solo, Contemporary solo, and Ensemble categories,
in addition to top three, top six and top twelve placements in all categories
Fischbach has been recognized for her outstanding instruction. In 2013 and 2015,
YAGP honored Ms. Fischbach with the “Outstanding Teacher” award. Her graduating
students have been accepted into professional companies and the top ranked collegiate
dance programs in the country. Her current students have been accepted into
prestigious summer intensives and year round programs, many on full
scholarship, around the country. In addition to directing Southold’s school,
youth company, and summer intensives, Ms. Fischbach has been on the faculty of
the country’s leading professional summer schools including American Ballet
Theatre, Colorado Ballet, and the Cecchetti Council of America.
Fischbach has been praised for her choreography and adaptations of the famous
Classic Ballets to incorporate dancers of all ages for Southold. She has choreographed
The Nutcracker, Swan Lake,
Giselle, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, and over 15 concert pieces
for community performances.
Fischbach is thrilled to join Colorado Ballet Academy’s team of experienced
Academy Business Manager - Julia Patterson
Julia Patterson received her Bachelors degree from the University of Wyoming and recently completed her MBA in 2015. She is a Colorado native originally from Steamboat Springs and has worked in administration for the past 10 years.
Academy Administrator- Marlo Goff
Click on the photos to find out more about our faculty members.
Like Colorado Ballet Academy on Facebook!