Natalie Broyles – West Virginia Nomination & Photography by M.C.C. Photos Issue 63 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Natalie is an incredibly talented dancer and a very hard worker. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old. Now at 15 years old, she travels to other states to learn and perform! To fund her travels, she bakes cookies and other sweets and sells them at vendor events like craft fairs. She was invited to study with Joffrey Ballet Pre-Professional program in New York City this year.
Photography by M.C.C. Photos
Tell us about your dance career. I started taking dance at the age of 3 from a local high school student who taught classes. A year later I switched to Princeton Dance Studio, where I continue to study today. It is 45 minutes away from my house, but the drive is totally worth it to do what I love. I was invited to join the dance company, PPAC in sixth grade. I take as many classes as I can because I love it.
What do you love most about dance? I love everything about dance. I feel like it’s very graceful and the wonderful feeling I get while dancing is indescribable. It lights me up inside and it is my passion.
Tell us about your favorite place to travel to perform so far. My favorite place to perform so far was at UNCSA. It was an amazing experience, and I would do it again because the people and the location made it so memorable. Another performance I really enjoyed was in 2020 when I performed in the Joffrey Ballet School (NYC) online showcase at the same time I performed in my home studio’s performance. JBS was pre-recorded and aired while I danced on stage in WV.
Where was your favorite place to learn when you traveled? My favorite summer intensive was Joffrey Ballet Schools Pre-Professional Summer Intensive in NYC. I really enjoyed learning from all of the teachers while I was there, and I was able to experience more than I can in my small hometown. I made friends from all over the world that I will remember for life.
What types of dances do you study, and which is your favorite? I study ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, as well as hip hop. My favorite area is ballet because I feel very joyful but at summer intensives. I have also learned to love contemporary ballet because I can feel free to express myself. At summer intensives I have also studied flamenco, Horton, and other styles.
Image by her mom
When will you go to NYC to study and what are you most looking forward to experiencing there? I plan to go to NYC again this year for Joffrey’s Jazz and Contemporary Summer Intensive. I am looking forward to experiencing training from various teachers and the connections I will make there. I also plan to attend Joffrey’s year-round program when I save enough money to afford the expenses.
What is something that non dancers may not realize about dancers/dancing? I feel like non dancers don’t realize the time and practice it takes to become a dancer. I spend most of my time dancing and if I’m not dancing then I’m at school. I head to school at 7:30 am, then go to dance in the evenings until after 9:00 pm. My 45-minute drive home leads me to get home after 10:00 most nights. When we have breaks for holidays, I have to make sure I still stretch and train so that I don’t lose any of my technique. I also spend my whole summer dancing as well. Dance does not have a season; it is year-round.
What is the hardest part of being a dancer? What is the best? The hardest part of being a dancer is the time it takes. I often pass on invitations from friends and family because I have dance. Sometimes I miss the activities, but dance is my passion. The best part of being a dancer is the joy I feel while dancing. It makes up for everything else I sacrifice for dance.
How did you find and why did you choose M.C.C. Photos for your photographer? He is a local photographer and he wanted to try some dance shots. I was selected to work with him on the shots.
What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? The experience was wonderful. He was very patient and allowed me to change costumes several times. He was open to poses I wanted to try and to incorporating the studio mirrors in the shots, which created more work for him during editing.
Photography by M.C.C. Photos
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? I live with 7 brothers and my parents are a teacher and a farmer. Since my parents cannot pay for all of my intensives, I work during the year by doing bake sales, babysitting, and other jobs to raise the money to attend. The rural area I live in, makes it more difficult to receive the training I need for my career. Thankfully my studio is only 45 minutes away and they are amazing.
What do you love doing with your brothers? I love going on vacations with my brothers. There is always something to do when they’re there. It is never boring.
What is the hardest part of living with 7 brothers? What is the best part? The hardest part of living with 7 brothers is that they like to pick on me a lot and tease me. The best part is that I always have someone to talk to.
What is a family memory you'll never forget? The family memory I’ll never forget is probably our trips to Carowinds. Some years we received season passes as Christmas presents and we were able to go several times.
What else would you like to talk about? I’ve dreamed of being a professional dancer most of my life and I make sacrifices to do that. I miss events with friends and family so I can train or work to pay for training. I know the meaning of hard work and sacrifice to chase your dreams.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be? Taking opportunities to travel while you are young is important. I am from a very small rural area of 13,000 in our county and I have been able to experience travel through opportunities in dance. I have more life experience than many adults because I’ve navigated in NYC, rode a subway, explored other food and cultures, and met people from all over the world. Don’t think that living in a small town limits your opportunities.
Image by her mom
What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it? The hardest thing I have ever accomplished was probably getting into the Joffrey Ballet School Year Round Program. It took years of hard work and dedication to develop the skills I need to be accepted into that elite program.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? The advice I would give to someone who wants to be where I am today is to never give up. Stay focused, keep working, and great things will happen.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? I see myself as a professional dancer in 5 years. I plan to join a ballet or contemporary dance company in NYC.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? My favorite activity besides dance is baking cookies. Every cookie I bake allows me to raise money to chase my dreams.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? I am very good at managing children from being the second-oldest of eight and from assisting younger classes at my studio.
3 Things on your bucket list Three things on my bucket list are to make it into a professional ballet company, become a choreographer, and to travel.
Who do you find inspiring? I find Misty Copeland inspiring, the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. She started late, had the wrong body type, and proved everyone wrong.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I work hard to chase my dreams. I spend most of my time training, raising money, or attending school instead of hanging out with friends.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us? I have been to several summer intensives including Charlotte Ballet Summer Intensive, Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive, Joffrey Ballet Pre-Professional Summer Intensive, and UNCSA Summer Intensive for 4 weeks in 2022. I also maintain straight A’s in school.
Look for Natalie in issue 63 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!