Meet Chi Varnado – Author of ‘The Dance Centre Presents Giselle’

Meet Chi Varnado – Author of ‘The Dance Centre Presents Giselle’

We had a great time last week with our client Chi Varnado, Author of the newly released middle grade novel The Dance Centre Presents Giselle. Chi gave two excellent presentations at the Pine Valley Library – one with several charter school students from Pine Valley and the other combined with members of the Pine Valley community including dance teacher, Katy Gradillas and several of her dance students performing ballet and gymnastics.

But first, a little about Chi Varnado:

Ramona resident Chi Varnado is passionate about helping children view their own creativity as valuable. As a writer, former dance studio owner/teacher, choreographer, and educator, she advocates art for the sake of art – the reward being intrinsic and untethered from extrinsic reward. Varnado saw a lack in the literary market for books about dance which did not focus on competitiveness and high drama. Children want to read about what they love, so she took on the task to help fill the void to keep the story of “dance as art” alive—so began the first novel in her new series, The Dance Centre Presents Giselle, which is now available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and can be ordered at book stores.

Chi Varnado – Photo by SJF Communications

Varnado is currently a substitute teacher, a tutor, and an Airbnb host.  She offers half-hour school and library presentations for second through sixth grade (including middle school for libraries) featuring an engaging power point followed by a short creative writing workshop. Students become highly motivated to write when Chi, as an author, uses her books and impromptu “popcorn stories” to foster their own spontaneous writing. She is also available to sell her books at books fairs or dance studios as a fundraiser.

Books by Chi Varnado
Photo courtesy of Chi Varnado

Miss Chi, as the kids refer to her, holds a bachelor’s degree in dance from San Diego State University, and both an elementary multiple subjects and secondary credentials. Her writing has appeared in The San Diego Reader, and several newspapers and she’s been interviewed on television and radio. Her memoir, A CANYON TRILOGY: Life Before, During and After the Cedar Fire, was a finalist in the San Diego Book Awards and has garnered many accolades. The Tale of Broken Tail, a children’s picture book, is also available where books are sold.

Varnado knows, firsthand, that active kids need a venue to channel their energy and interests in a positive and wholesome way that they can feel good about. These issues are folded into her presentations so that everyone can feel included.

Since there was some time between Miss Chi’s presentations, we had the chance to do quick Q & A. interview:

Q & A

Author Chi Varnado & Susan J. Farese

SF: Why did you choose to write about the ballet, Giselle, in this first book of the series The Dance Centre Presents?

CV: Giselle is one of my favorite ballets of all time.

SJF: Tell us the purpose of why you wrote a book series for middle graders?

CV:  I didn’t think there were enough books for kids who want to read about dance, especially a series focusing on the art and camaraderie of dance. So, I thought – why not write one myself, since I had a dance studio and taught for thirty-seven years.

SJF: How did you come up with the idea of ‘Dancespirations’ on Instagram and Facebook?

CV:  It just hit me one day out of the blue. I thought it would be a fun way to offer bite-sized quips about dance.

SJF: Why did you start dancing in the first place?

CV: I had ‘ants in my pants’ so I started to dance! Well – actually, I was in constant motion as a child and, fortunately, both my Mom and Grandmother recognized this and enrolled me in ballet.

SJF: What’s different about your approach to dance?

CV: I like the idea of dance for the sake of art and expression, without the need for awards from competitions.

SJF: And the book?

CV: In The Dance Centre Presents Giselle, readers will find friends they can relate to and feel at home with, whether or not they are dancers themselves.

SJF: So, can you give us the storyline?

CV: When the prima ballerina at The Dance Centre mysteriously vanishes, Randi unexpectedly lands the lead and learns that the world of ballet is not always as glamorous as it appears onstage. She harbors severe self-doubts about her abilities to rise to the honor of her new role. And when she begins her pas de deux training with a boy, new and conflicting feelings and emotions surface which send her spiraling into panic mode. All the while, Deanne seizes opportunities to undermine her at every pirouette. Randi struggles to maintain her crucial focus, but what will happen if she doesn’t?

SJF: Where can we find you on the web and social media?

Chi Varnado
Photo by SJF Communications

CV: My website and

Contact Miss Chi at for information or to book engagements.        

On social media: FACEBOOK PAGE :  @dancecentrepresents

And INSTAGRAM PAGE @chivarnado

SJF: Thanks so much Miss Chi! It’s been a pleasure learning more about you and The Dance Centre Presents Giselle! Where can we find the book?

Susan J. Farese and Chi Varnado
Courtesy Photo

CV: The book is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and can be ordered through your local bookstore.

For more information, visit

Media Contact: Susan J. Farese, SJF Communications


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