Madison Rogers prepares to engage in another prestigious dance intensive this summer


When sophomore Madison Rogers first viewed a performance of The Nutcracker at age six, she was instantly attracted to the beautiful costumes and the graceful dancing the show and dancers provided. It took a few more viewings of the show for Madison to realize that she wanted to become a part of the production; that realization is what initiated the commencement of her dance career.

“Going to see it with my family and seeing all of the dances on stage was inspiring,” Madison said. “I [knew that I] wanted to do that.”

Ten years later, she has still remained consistent with dance. Her passion for dance has led to her participation in various West Michigan Youth Ballet productions: The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Swan Lake. Likewise, her weeks are strenuous; she dances roughly twenty hours per week.

“We have Cinderella now to rehearse,” Madison said. “[I started with] eleven [to] twelve hour [weeks]; it just kept accumulating. I don’t think it’s ever stopping. I started with The Nutcracker later [than most] when I was twelve; I started [dancing in] Sleeping Beauty when I was thirteen.”

Madison’s dance career initiated at Ada Dance Academy; however, Madison decided to transfer to David Matthew Studios this year. David Braciak, who was a previous instructor at Ada Dance Academy and owns the studio, has served an influential role as a mentor in Madison’s life.

“He is a huge inspiration,” Madison said. “He inspires me in a different way than other ballet teachers would. He’ll ask you, ‘How are you doing?’ and [coaches me with] telling a story through dancing—instead of just [moving through a dance].”

Along with participating in West Michigan Youth Ballet’s productions throughout the year, Madison also attended annual summer intensives held by the company. Because of those intensives, Madison was confidently able to transition to attend Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s intensive in Pennsylvania last summer. While participating in the intensive, Madison experienced living on the Dickinson College campus.

“It was a lot of new responsibility because it was for five weeks, and it was away [from home],” Madison said. “I met a lot of new people, and it was an overall learning moment and a good experience to [manage] all of the [responsibility]. You had your own room, you had to clean it, do your laundry, and do everything on your own.”

This summer, Madison has been accepted into both American Ballet Theatre and Kansas City Ballet summer intensive programs. Attending one of the programs would lead her to either Florida or Missouri. However, Madison is undecided because she has an interest in attending a more contemporary-based summer intensive.

“I’m not sure yet [about which to attend],” Madison said. “I haven’t really chosen—those are kind of ideas.”

As for the future, Madison is positive that she would like to pursue dance. Whether that leads her to become a member of a ballet company in college or choreograph for talented companies in California, she is determined to maintain dance in her life through some outlet.

What has kept Madison extremely passionate about dance is the instant pride in which she is able to receive following a performance. She believes that it is rewarding to experience genuine joy following a successful performance that was backed by copious hours of practice.

“Putting all of the hard work into [dance is rewarding],” Madison said. “When you go on stage, feeling all of that paying off and just dancing it, not [worrying] about technique, [is the best feeling]. You can really let your story flow. I like things that make me happy and [allow] me to feel.”