In the 608: How a Madison ballet school is inspiring imagination

MADISON, Wis. – If your child is a fan of fairytales and dancing, there’s a unique opportunity for you here in the 608. Storybook Ballet has been a popular hit for the last two decades in Madison.

It’s an enchanting children’s ballet school, and what makes this one different, is that it combines classical ballet with fairytales and famous ballet stories.

Meredith Mast first founded Storybook Ballet in 2000, and you’ll find her studio on the bottom level of Hilldale Mall.

She’s a former professional ballerina, but her dream was to create a school that would foster a love of ballet and teach the fundamentals of classical ballet technique, all with a touch of magic. Her school’s curriculum is based on almost twenty years of teaching children, and over forty years of studying the art form.

“We have the opportunity to teach so any things besides the physical components of ballet,” Mast explained. “We teach manners, we teach focus, we teach discipline, we teach elegance, and we teach musicality.”

Her classes are offered specifically for age’s three to nine, with five levels of ballet within those ages. Storybook Ballet is also non-competitive and non-recital focused, unlike many other forms. She says that tends to release some of the nerves and pressure of others.

“We hope that when we’re in here talking about honesty in our fairytale and the kindness of our character in the story, or maybe how that wasn’t a nice thing to do in the story, that there will be these life lessons that we can explore while we are dancing, and that they can take to the outside world,” Mast said.

Like everything else over the last year, her business was hit pretty hard by the pandemic, but now she’s up and going again with limited in-studio classes for the kids and also options available over zoom.

Mast also recently published a book, so if you’d like to learn more about her or Storybook Ballet, click here.