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Academy Faculty and Staff

Staff

Academy Director - Valerie Madonia

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 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 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.

Academy Principal- Erica Fischbach 



Academy 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. 

Ms. 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.  

During 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 PNB Nutcracker, and Center Stage. 

During 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 at YAGP. 

Ms. 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. 

Ms. 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. 

Ms. Fischbach is thrilled to join Colorado Ballet Academy’s team of experienced professionals. 

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. 

303-339-1634

julia.patterson@coloradoballet.org

Academy Administrator- Marlo Goff

303-339-1623

marlo.goff@coloradoballet.org 


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Faculty

Click on the photos to find out more about our faculty members.

Dana Benton
Dana Benton

 

Anna Bridge
Anna Bridge

 

Andy Clements
Andy Clements

 

Kathi Crum
Kathi Crum

 

Meredith Dake
Meredith Dake

 

Jennifer DePalo-Peterson
Jennifer DePalo-Peterson

 

Nick DiBattista
Nick DiBattista

 

Francisco Estevez
Francisco Estevez

 

Jane Foster
Jane Foster

 

Molly Huempfner
Molly Huempfner

 

Tracy Jones
Tracy Jones

 

Toni Marie Martin
Toni Marie Martin

 

Maria Olano Sardi
Maria Olano Sardi

 

Diane Page
Diane Page

 

Carolina Pahde
Carolina Pahde

 

Jayne Persch
Jayne Persch

 

Whitney Popp
Whitney Popp

 

Heather Prokhnitski
Heather Prokhnitski

 

Viki Psihoyos
Viki Psihoyos

 

Gaby Rodriguez
Gaby Rodriguez

 

Erika Sandre
Erika Sandre

 

Mieke Scripps
Mieke Scripps

 

Robert Sher-Machherndl
Robert Sher-Machherndl

 

Kevin Gaël Thomas
Kevin Gaël Thomas

 

Igor Vassine
Igor Vassine

 

Sharon Wehner
Sharon Wehner

 

John K. Williams, "Mr. Tap"
John K. Williams, "Mr. Tap"

 

Lisa Wolf
Lisa Wolf

 

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