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Childlike Wonder Comes To Life In Madison, Wisconsin At Storybook Ballet

By Paul Rowe

For the last 17 years in Madison, Wisconsin, young dancers adorned in their very own handmade costumes have transformed themselves into the lead characters of their most cherished storybooks. Every week at Storybook Ballet, timeless tales are dramatized through enchanting choreography. The fathomless potential of imagination is unleashed.

Today, Storybook Ballet is a unique children's ballet school in Madison that brings together beginning classical ballet instruction with the delight of fairy tales and enduring ballet stories alike. With classes offered specifically for ages 3-9 and five levels of ballet classes within those ages, Storybook Ballet adds a refreshing twist to children's dance culture, planting the seed for a lifelong love of one of the world's most exquisite art forms.

Former professional ballerina with the Houston Ballet and owner of Storybook Ballet Meredith Mast rejoices in sharing her deep knowledge of proper fundamentals of classical ballet technique, all with a touch of magic that is undeniably contagious.

For decades Meredith Mast's dream was to create a niche children's ballet school that tapped into the theatrical world of fairytales and story ballets. Mast's ultimate vision for Storybook Ballet was to introduce children to classical ballet, and to create an atmosphere of delight where children can thrive.

"As a former professional ballerina, I adored the dramatic side of ballet, portraying anything from Clara in the Nutcracker to a Troll in Peer Gynt," Mast said. "I thought it would be much more fun to teach our little dancers to skip while 'skipping through the forest to pick berries' or to teach a grand jete while 'leaping into the night like a lion.'"

Each week at Storybook Ballet, children's ballet classes combine a new story, new costumes, and new choreography to provide children with the unforgettable experience of dancing into the fairy tale. During these uncommon classes, children master the basics of ballet while pointing toes as a princess.

All of the instructors at Storybook Ballet are experienced dancers with extensive professional dance backgrounds. With such in-depth training in ballet, and unparalleled passion for imparting their wisdom onto the children of Madison, the instructors at Storybook Ballet are talented, inspired, and dedicated educators more than willing to teach.

"We have two teachers for every class, one to lead and one to handle everything else that might come our way," Mast said. "Each class is structured with a lot of creativity and magic along the way."

Storybook Ballet also offers Fairytale Birthday Parties conducted by experienced teachers where children celebrate the most important day of their year in style, specially designed around each child's interests. Here, the birthday child and family can choose among forty-five fairy tales with props, costumes, and story dancers for each tale.

The school's exceptional curriculum is based on nearly twenty years of teaching young children and over forty years of studying the art form in all its complexity. Here in Madison, the marvelous dreams of our children are ignited.

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About The Author

Paul Rowe is a graduate instructor of writing and master's student of Literature at...

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