Natalie Krapf is a freelance practitioner for Royal Opera House and teaches junior associates at Royal Ballet School. She is also an associate dance artist for English National Ballet and founder/director of Balletomane, a charitable performing ballet company for amateur adult dancers. Natalie has also recently been appointed as the Intensive Ballet Coaching Tutor at Central School of Ballet.
Tell us about your dance background..
I trained in a mixture of dance styles but settled on ballet as it felt most natural to me. It also helped me accept my body which was rather tall and lanky, something that wasn’t ‘on trend’ when I was a child or teenager. I’ve taught for over 15 years and absolutely love teaching. Ballet teaching is certainly my first love, above and beyond performing.
Why did you start ballet?
I started ballet because I always loved dancing and moving to music since as long as I can remember. It is the key way that I express myself.
What is your favourite ballet moment- either in your own career or something that you have seen?
My favourite ballet moment is seeing a student grow in confidence and suddenly discover themselves through the movement of ballet. I see this both in adults and children. It is a transformation that I feel very lucky to be a part of.
Why do you love ballet so much?
Expression! All dance is expression. However I particularly love how ballet feels like an extension of yourself because of the way everything is radiating outwards towards your audience. I am actually a very shy, self-conscious person but somehow while dancing ballet or performing a mime sequence, I can really show who I am on the inside.
What would you say to someone that has never done ballet before but wants to try it?
Have a go! Don’t worry about what you look like, but just try to feel the movement and the energy. Let it take you somewhere new.
What stereotype of ballet do you think people get completely wrong?
There are many, but for me it is that ballet and even ballet teaching is easy. Many people think we just prance around the studio doing meditative movements to music, or as a teacher that we sit on a chair banging a stick. Ha! It is hard work and that is part of why it is so amazing. You can feel your body learning and progressing. I teach a lot of people who are new to ballet, both adults and children. It is a great moment when they try the first exercise (basic as it may be) and say ‘wow this is really hard’. Most people enjoy the challenge, and it opens their eyes to what it takes to be a ballet dancer. They appreciate the art more after they try it themselves.