Name | Natalie
Occupation | Environmental consulting
Why belly dance? I was learning salsa, but I would always lose my balance when I turned, and I had trouble learning styling and steps simultaneously. It felt awkward and definitely not sexy. I knew I needed a real dance class, so I tried some “beginner” jazz and ballet classes that were way over my head. I thought belly dance might help me learn posture and balance along with some of the moves used in salsa. And it has! Sadly, salsa has fallen by the wayside…
How long have you been at Saffron? I think I started in 2009.
How did you find Saffron Dance, and what keeps you coming back? I had walked past the studio but was a little afraid to try it. Then I went to a world music festival called Planet Arlington. Saphira and faculty were shimmying through the crowd, and they offered a free class right there in the park, and afterwards I signed up for a full semester. The personal attention was just what I needed. What keeps me coming back is that I have to take each technique class four times before I get it :-) But really, Saphira was what kept me coming back. She makes dance accessible to non-dancers and has the ability to see the little adjustments that need to be made to get a movement right. She got me to the point where I could really learn from the other Saffron faculty. She also recommended 2 years ago that I try Persian dance to focus on my arms. She was so right! Annie’s emphasis on ballet has been so helpful (Jenna’s SaffronFit class, too), and Persian has made my dancing more fluid.
What were your thoughts after your first class? I don’t remember… but I do remember that after the first time I performed I said I would never perform again!
Can you speak a bit about your experience in Student Company and working closely with faculty and fellow dancers? Our faculty members are so creative and have such musicality. It’s pretty cool to try to bring their vision to life! And they make us such gorgeous costumes!
The first time I performed, I joined the class a couple weeks late. This was in the days before smartphones, and we all had to basically memorize the choreography right there in class. One of the other dancers invited people to her home to get us up to speed, and sent us home with cookies! My company members have been so supportive.
Any other comments you want to add regarding your belly dance experience and future goals | I have never been a fan of veil. I hope to someday do it justice. And maybe get back to salsa :-p
How she inspires us | I am always impressed with Natalie's commitment and determination in class. She approaches new dance styles and experiences wholeheartedly, and it shows both in the studio and in performance. As part of the Persian Performance Classes, I can always count on Natalie to immerse herself in the technique and apply it to the choreography to bring it to life on stage. I've seen her grow so much over the last few years, both in her technique and her expressiveness and connection with the audience. I'm so lucky to have Natalie as a student, and I'm excited to see how she continues to grow as a dancer! - Annie