Professional ballerina hosts dance workshop

KALAHEO — If you have visions of sugar plum fairies dancing through your head, Connecticut ballet instructor Matisse Madden has the class for you.

The one-time Kaua‘i resident will host a master class and ballet summer intensive workshop beginning June 25.

“My family moved to Kaua‘i right after I graduated from high school, so I would go there to visit during the summers,” the professional dancer said.

During her elongated stays, Madden discovered a community of pre-professional dancers who loved ballet.

The professional ballerina, whose resume includes dancing with the Connecticut Ballet and teaching at Yale University, was inspired to start a ballet class for dancers ages 13 and up.

One day, she asked herself “Why not combine my two favorite things — Kaua‘i and ballet?”

Madden hosted a string of successful classes on Kaua‘i in 2009 with the intention to return in 2010, but her son had other plans in mind.

“I canceled last year because I gave birth to my son,” she said.

Madden returns to Kaua‘i this year to teach classes at Janie Crane’s Kalaheo studio. Crane is the director of Kaua‘i Dance Theatre, which happens to be celebrating its silver anniversary this year.

“I fell in love with her studio,” Madden said. “It’s on the third floor and it’s like you’re dancing in the trees.”

Madden said she favors the Vaganova teaching methodology, a technique which originated in Russia.

 “It’s a wonderful technique, because it gives you the building blocks and you go from there. The sky’s the limit.”

During the Ballet Summer Intensive Workshop, which runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. June 27 to 30, students will learn a variation of “Sleeping Beauty,” which was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa in 1890, and a variation of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” choreographed by George Balanchine. Registration for the workshop costs $100.

The Master Class is 10:30 a.m. to noon June 25 at Lihu‘e Parish Hall at 4340 Nawiliwili Road. The class costs $15.

The classes are designed for intermediate to advanced dancers.

“The end goal is to give the dancers a chance to learn choreography quickly,” Madden said. “To learn the artistry and put their own flair into it and have it be performance ready.”

Email to register for classes or visit for more information about the classes.

• Andrea Frainier, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 257 or afrainier@


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