“It’s crazy being back here,” said Fana Tesfagiorgis, sitting in the dressing room of the Madison Ballet studio. “This is where I used change and get ready for class. Everything seems much smaller now,” she said, gesturing to the child-sized furniture.
Currently dancing in New York City for the prestigious African American modern dance company Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Madison native returned to where it all began for her at the age of four on Tuesday to teach a master class for local dancers.
Tesfagiorgis had been meaning to make it back to the city and finally got the chance during a week off in between wrapping a show and heading overseas. It was her first time returning to Madison as a professional dancer. She instructed about a dozen students of various backgrounds and experiences.
“I’m just trying to expand my teaching because that’s also something I love,” she said.
Tesfagiorgis’ career has taken her many places. Since leaving Madison, she attended Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan for high school. She went on to dance for Ailey II, Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance Inc., and Alenka Cizmesja’s Art DeConstructed.