Madeline and Matthew Harvey Take Root at CSU
Madeline Harvey and Matthew Harvey are dancers. They started before the age of 10. They are professionals on the stage. They are professors in the classroom, and in 2013, they decided to make a life-long commitment to each other that remains intact with and without the ballet slippers. Meet Colorado State University’s newest dance faculty.
Long before Madeline and Matthew chose CSU or each other, they chose dance.
“I started dancing probably in the womb,” Madeline said. “I came into the world hand first and ready to move…I would become very entranced if I saw dance on TV or movies or in books.”
Before age six, Madeline was already enrolled in her first ballet class. Her first pair of ballet shoes now proudly sits on top of a filing cabinet in her office.
Matthew started dance at age nine when he was offered a scholarship to take classes at Repertory Dance Theatre in his hometown, Allentown, Pennsylvania. He continued dancing with Repertory Dance Theatre all through high school.
Both Madeline and Matthew have graced many stages, performing professionally with the Charlotte Ballet and the Carolina Ballet Theatre. They have worked under many choreographers including Alonzo King and Dwight Rhoden. The Harveys have performed statewide and abroad, and prior to coming to CSU they served as dance faculty at the University of South Carolina.
The two met in their mid to late teens at the Chautauqua Institute summer dance intensive in western New York. Despite their different personalities, Madeline identifying as type A, extroverted, and organized and Matthew as laid back and reserved, the two connected.
“What I really love about dance and the dance world in general, there is this perfect harmony between actor and athlete,” Matthew Harvey said. “We have the athleticism of some of the best athletes in the world, but then are like actors that disguise everything so it doesn’t look like it costs us anything. We have to disguise it so it looks effortless.”
Both dancers continue to portray a sense of effortless and ease on stage. In Nov., they performed the Romeo and Juliet Balcony Pas De Deux in CSU’s fall dance concert. Getting to partner together for the Romeo and Juliet excerpt was a meaningful experience for both dancers.
“It’s a magical feeling to get to tap into that very youthful love that is still evident in our daily lives,” Madeline Harvey said. “It’s interesting to try to journey back.”
Matthew Harvey said that working on the pas de deux together has been nostalgic. “We don’t have to build that sense of physical trust every time we step into the studio,” he said. “It’s really refreshing sometimes to get to have that level of closeness and be able to work on such a deep level with someone you’re that connected to.”
When it comes to the classroom, Madeline and Matthew want to create a safe place for their students to experiment and grow.
“I think we really hope to offer to the students a space to take risks, a space to feel supported, and a space to try new things and be innovators,” Madeline Harvey said. “I feel a lot of invigoration starting in this new place and this new chapter. I see a lot of possibilities and potential for us to grow.”
Katelyn Doyle, a third-year dance major, took Madeline Harvey’s ballet technique class this semester. “She gives a new kind of energy to the class. She is so positive, and I really like the way that she teaches,” she said.
Third year dance major, Jenny Trenchard got to work with Matthew Harvey by performing in the fall dance concert piece, “Ricochet.” For many students, it was unique opportunity to work with a professor who took an improvisational approach to choreography.
“Usually the professors come in with something set already, and so this is a new experience for me, being able to work with a faculty member who choreographs on the spot,” Trenchard said. “It’s been kind of inspiring. I’ve enjoyed my time working with him a lot.”
Professors Madeline and Matthew Harvey have only been at Colorado State University for a semester, but they have already inspired dozens of students in the classroom and even more dancers and audience members alike by their onstage performance. They aren’t afraid to get sweaty or messy while practicing in the studio, but when they grace the stage they move with a cleanness and ease that we can only hope to comprehend.