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Volume 24, Number 10 — November 2017

Arts for Youth Spotlight

Madyson Kent
Madyson Kent

Madyson Kent has a passion for dance

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | March 30, 2015

Madyson Kent spends five days a week in class and hours in the studio furthering her study of ballet.

Her passion for ballet began when she was 3, when her mom, Vonda Kent, signed her up for a class at Dawn's School of Dance, Manquin, Va.

"My love for all forms of dance developed at Dawn's School of Dance over the course of six years," Madyson says. "Wanting to further my dance instruction, I moved studios to The Dance Company in Mechanicsville, Va. I was instructed in all forms of dance, including jazz, tap, contemporary, modern and basic ballet training and had many opportunities through their instruction. Those included a master class with dancers in the Broadway production of "Wicked.' After three years under their instruction, I decided that I wanted to further my growth as a dancer in the art of ballet. So I moved studios yet again to the School of Richmond Ballet, in Richmond, Va. My motivation and love for this extraordinary art form was strengthened to the max there. I was given so many opportunities, including two master classes with The Royal Ballet School of London and being a part of the auditioned Ensemble II performing group. After a family relocation to Bristol, Tenn., the summer of 2014, I now study ballet at the Bristol Ballet."

Madyson recently received a merit scholarship to attend Richmond Ballet's five-week summer intensive program this summer. She was also accepted to the Charlotte Ballet's summer program but has chosen to attend the program in Richmond.

She has appeared in the Richmond Ballet's "Nutcracker," "The Enchanted Toy Shop" with the School of Richmond Ballet's Ensemble group and Bristol Ballet's "Nutcracker" as part of the Spanish corps, snow corps and a Demi-Soloist Flower. She performed "The Garland Waltz" from "Sleeping Beauty" with the School of Richmond Ballet's Ensemble II.

Her favorite ballet is "Swan Lake," because she thinks it is "gorgeous," and she loves the storyline. Telling a story with dance is what interests her the most.

"The ability to express yourself and tell a story through any art form is mind boggling. Through ballet I can escape the daily stresses of life and just focus on strengthening myself and furthering my study of ballet. Everything outside of the studio disappears, leaving just me, the ballet teacher and the other dedicated dancers around me."

Her teachers have been her biggest influence. "Without them, I wouldn't be the dancer I am today. Each and every one of them has positively influenced me so much. Probably the teachers who have influenced me the most have been Ms. Judy Jacob and Ms. Tara Penick with the School of Richmond Ballet. Both of them have pushed me to grow and learn as a ballet dancer, and they have provided me with so many challenges. For each and every challenge I am eternally grateful.

"One of the most amazing influences are the dancers younger than you. As a dancer, when you see a younger girl starting to learn ballet look up at you with twinkling eyes and whisper to her friend how she wants to be just like you, you feel inspired to work even harder. I want to be a role model for those younger than me. I want them to share my love for this beautiful art form."

When Madyson isn't at the ballet studio, she studies the viola and does her homework.

She hasn't decided what to do when she finishes school, she's only 14 and a freshman at Tennessee High School, but says "spending my life sharing my love of ballet sounds like a good way to spend it. Ballet means the world to me. Without ballet I don't know what I would do. Through ballet I can do things that most others can't do. I can be graceful and beautiful all at once. Ballet has taught me many life lessons: to be patient, gracious, respectful, resilient and conscientious."

Madyson is the daughter of Martin and Vonda Kent and has two younger sisters.