Matilda Mackey is currently in her third year at The Juilliard School, where is she is studying vigorously in various dance classes. Those classes include ballet, modern, improvisation, composition, contemporary partnering, and contact improvisation.
Between academic classes, rehearsals for a repertory show called Spring Dances, rehearsals for a student-choreographed show called Senior Production, and Independent Workshop rehearsals, Matilda is also working on three work-study jobs. This schedule constantly demands Matilda to be efficient with time and organized with details.
“Nolte helped prepare me to stay on my toes regardless of how packed my schedule is because I was always performing in tons of competition, recital and gala pieces” Said Matilda, “At Nolte, I challenged myself to embark on numerous dance journeys at once, which then gave me the tools to follow through with the commitments I made for myself.”
Matilda attended Nolte Academy from the age of two. “I always felt at home at Nolte,” she said, “partly because dance itself is home to my body and mind but also because I grew up with Leslie and the other dancers who became some of my closest friends regardless of our current life paths.”
Through her fifteen years dancing at Nolte Academy Matilda says she was able to realize her self worth as a dancer. She says that because she was so deeply connected with her teachers and friends at the studio, they helped give her the confidence to embark on any journey she’d dream up.
“Nolte propelled me into the concert dance world through its care for high-caliber training on a truly loving level. I am forever grateful for my experiences at the studio.”
A note from Matilda to Nolte Academy Dancers:
"My biggest piece of advice for young dancers is to focus on what ignites you as a dancer. I think it is important for dancers, especially younger ones, to question their craft to discern what they’re truly passionate about within it. Once you’ve discovered what drives your love for dance, lean into that and focus on it, whether that means taking as many classes in that realm as you can or paving your own path to bring more oxygen to that flame. For example, I found my love for improvisation after I spent years pushing myself to dive into the seemingly fearful realm of reckless abandonment within improvisation. Now, improvising turns my switch on in the molecular level, and I am immensely thankful that I took the time to uncover what speaks to me most profoundly as a dancer.”
A fond memory of Nolte Academy:
“I have a funny memory passed down to me from Leslie and my parents from when I was quite literally a baby at Nolte. We were back at the old studio, Leslie had just freshly opened her business, and I was two years old. As a kid, I had a mischievous desire to hide all the time. Regardless the circumstance, regardless if I knew somebody knew where I was hiding, I wanted to hide in every nook and under every chair. So, I hid behind a giant fish tank Leslie had in the studio lobby after classes one day, and I didn’t budge despite hearing all the frantic calls for baby Matilda. Leslie was running through the studio and out onto the parking lot, utterly mortified; she had just opened the studio and she already had a lost child, not to mention what that child’s parents would say if their two year old disappeared from the studio. But, as all jokes die quickly, I decided I would pop up from behind the fish tank and voila, all is well! Needless to say, Leslie and everyone helping to search for me didn’t think my cute hiding ploys were as funny as I did.”