Valerie Madonia

Michael Waldrop

Valerie Madonia began her dance training at age four with Maris Battaglia at the American Academy of Ballet in Buffalo, NY and continued on at fourteen with Canada’s National Ballet School, graduating in 1979. While at the National, she was a recipient of the prestigious Peter Dwyer Award for Dance Excellence and was invited by school Founder and Director, Betty Oliphant, to participate in the first USAIBC, it was there that she first caught Robert Joffrey’s eye. She danced professionally for more than 20 years, first 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 Joffrey and Gerald Arpino). 

Starting as a member of the corps de ballet and progressing into soloist work with American Ballet Theatre, Madonia eventually established herself as a leading ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet. She worked closely with highly acclaimed choreographers; Sir Anthony Tudor, Twyla Tharp, Sir Kenneth McMillan, Natalia Makarova, Peter Schaufuss, Alonzo King, Karole Armitage and Arpino. She had the honor of dancing as a company member for various seasons with Baryshnikov and Company, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Armitage Gone! Dance, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and as a guest artist with Alaska Dance Theatre, Russian Ballet Theatre, Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary 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, directed by Doug Fitch, conducted by Alan Gilbert and accompanied by Pinkus Zuckerman. Madonia appeared in six PBS Dance in America Specials and is featured in four dance books, most prominently in, Classical Ballet Technique, by G.W. Warren. 

Madonia organized performances to tour Southwestern Colorado with other professional dancers and established her own project-based company, Alpine Dance, Inc. from 1994-2001. In 1997, Madonia co- produced and directed a five-year performance residency between the Joffrey Ballet and the Telluride Society for Performing Arts. In 2002 she produced the Washington Ballet and Momix summer residencies in Telluride. 

She has been teaching for over 25 years and is ABT National Teacher Certified. She taught for the Joffrey Ballet School from 1996- 2004, served on faculty at the New School University in NYC from 2000- 2003, directed and co-founded the Joffrey School South Workshop in Georgia from 2003-2010. She teaches biannually at the Yokohama Ballet Intensive in Japan and is a guest teacher at New York Dance Project, The Four Corners Dance Experience and for the Regional Dance America Festivals. She was an adjudicator and master teacher for the Youth American Grand Prix (2012-2017). Madonia has been a guest teacher and rehearsal director for The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Alaska Dance Theatre, Louisiana Delta Ballet, Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Boulder Ballet and recently (2021) with American Ballet Theatre. 

Madonia founded the non-profit Telluride Dance Academy in 1998, served as its Artistic Director and main teacher from 2006-2010. From 2011-2013, she began teaching and directing the newly formed Palm Arts Dance. She was the Academy Director, Summer Intensive Director and the Pre- Professional Division Founder at Colorado Ballet from 2013-2017. She currently teaches master classes worldwide. 

Her choreographic credits include full-length productions of Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Polar Express, Appalachian Spring, solo works for the NYC Dance Now Festival, Ballet West and Dayton Ballet. She is a repetiteur for the Arpino Foundation, setting Light Rain for Colorado Ballet and Italian Suite for the Mannes School of Music. She choreographed, Shapeshift, for Boulder Ballet, Frolic, for dancers at Colorado Ballet and Caged Eyes, for Colorado Ballet’s Pre-Professional Division and Soirée (2022), for the JBS NYC Ballet Trainee Spring Performance. She has received numerous choreographic grants and commissions for performances in non-traditional dance venues such as the Denver Art Museum, The Telluride Transfer Warehouse and, for 2022, a new multi-disciplinary performance on an outdoor life size chess board in Southwestern, Colorado.