2020 Stars of the Corps: Colorado Ballet's Leah McFadden

October 4, 2020

It’s difficult to imagine The Nutcracker‘s “Snow” scene becoming even more magical—but maybe that’s because you haven’t yet seen it featuring Leah McFadden as a sweet, dreamy Clara. Her dancing last season had no shortage of dynamics; one moment she was drawing the audience in with a soft, lush port de bras, and then snap! —she’d somehow jeté-ed herself halfway across the stage as if on springs. It was almost disarming to learn that she was only in her second year in the corps.

“I don’t know of too many companies that give their corps members as many opportunities to be featured in soloist and principal parts as Colorado Ballet does,” says McFadden. And she does indeed seem to be on the fast track, performing parts like Amour in Don Quixote and Tinkerbell in Michael Pink’s Peter Pan.

A shirtless male dancer in gray pants lifts a female ballerina above his head as she holds onto his shoulders and extends her legs straight into the air.

McFadden and Yosvani Ramos in Edwaard Liang’s Feast of the Gods

David Andrews, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

McFadden, 23, started ballet at age 11 at Southold Dance Theater in Indiana before joining Miami City Ballet’s pre-professional program. Summer intensives with the Colorado Ballet Academy would eventually lead to a Studio Company contract in 2016, and a spot in the main company in 2018.

“Working as a team and putting more of your focus into the group is a necessary and important skill to have, and I always enjoy working alongside my colleagues,” she explains. “At the same time, I’m also given opportunities that challenge me to work on my artistic freedom, my acting in character roles and, of course, technique. It’s a great balance.”

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