Natatia Warzabluk 2016 photo by: Joel Hawkins
Every young dancer arrives at the studio with their own impetus. Perhaps mom or dad thought dance classes were a good fit or fun to try, maybe a friend invited them to class, or a live performance inspired further investigation. Varied are the routes to enrolling in a dance program. But what transforms a dance journey into a professional track?
For the career minded dancer, a focus shift happens somewhere along the way. One day simply enjoying dance as a recreational pastime, or as an agreeable way to achieve fitness goals, transforms into the aspiration of achieving a livelihood within the field of their passion.
Did stage lights reveal a vision? An instructor’s encouragement? A treasured role? A competition prize? What causes the shift may be as unique as the dancers themselves.
One Front Range dancer, Natatia Warzabluk, 17, experienced her dance career epiphany at an unusually early age.
“As soon as I realized at age three that a professional career as a dancer was possible, that became my goal,” shares Natatia. “There has never been a question for me.”
“I had a 12-year career as a professional dancer,” expounds Natatia’s mom, Sandee Warzabluk. “We had heard that Ballet Society was a fabulous studio and we couldn’t be more thrilled about our decision to enroll Natatia. We have experienced excellent training and attention to every aspect of the students, including health, appearance, and attitude, which helps lead to the development of confident young ladies and gentlemen. Miss Patty emphasizes the need for her students to be respectful to all teachers by being neat in appearance, polite and being eager to learn. She offers each dancer the same attention and instruction as the next. She takes every situation and evaluates what is best for that dancer.”
Natatia trained at Colorado Ballet Society and was a member of the Colorado Youth Ballet for many years. She starred as ‘Aurora’ in the Youth Ballet’s and Ballet Society’s Pre-Professional Division 2016 production of Sleeping Beauty which received a standing ovation. This year she was offered a studio company contract with Colorado Ballet in Denver, as well as a trainee position with Oklahoma City Ballet, which she had previously performed with in 2014 with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Nutcracker as the lead Angel.
As for competition awards, Natatia is a multiple year winner in both Denver Ballet Guild and Colorado Springs Dance Theatre scholarship competitions. In 2016, she was awarded 2nd place in Senior Division and a $1,500 cash award from the Denver Ballet Guild’s Young Dancer's Competition. She also received the 2nd place and $250 cash award from the 2015 Colorado Springs Dance Theatre’s Jazz Competition.
Natatia was invited to the world renowned John Cranko school in Stuttgart, Germany, but instead accepted a position at the prestigious Princess Grace Academy in Monte Carlo, Monaco. She was also pre-selected to audition at: International Ballet of Munich; Hamburg Ballet School; Palooka University in Dresden, Germany; Ballet Dortmund Jr. Company; and the Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes, in France.
“It is literally unbelievable,” says Natatia when asked how she feels about receiving contract offers to professional companies beginning at the age of sixteen. “It really shocked me each time an offer came. I could barely believe it was true.”
She was one of only five students in the world who received admittance into the prestigious Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance program this year, and to sweeten the deal, she was offered a scholarship as well.
“You really have to have a good head on your shoulders to be able to make it in the dance world,” shares Natatia. “Being at a studio which holds their dancers to a very high standard and guides dancers through their pre-professional years, as well as launching them into their professional careers with the knowledge and experience they need, is really invaluable.”
Natatia Warzabluk 2016 photo by: Joel Hawkins
“Learning to use the support and resources available to me was a challenge, but I feel very fortunate to have had-and still have-so many amazing people in my life who are ready to help me through all of my struggles.”
Navigating the teen years can be challenging under the best of circumstances. Adding a demanding art or sport, like dance, adds a multi-faceted dimension. Serious dancers need to learn how to keep their minds and bodies in top form. All while figuring out how to bounce back after an "off" day in class/rehearsal, or to cope with something bigger like a health problem.
“I have always had people I can trust to have a shoulder to lean or cry on-both literally and metaphorically,” says Natatia. “What is important to remember is that hard times won't last forever. It's normal as a dancer to have times where you are not feeling your best and it's important that you don't let those feelings drag you down for too long. Always remind yourself that you are dancing because it brings joy to you. Positive self-talk goes a long way, and conversely, so does negative self-talk, if you know what I mean.”
“I will forever be grateful to have had a director who invested in me technically, artistically, and personally,” shared Natatia.
“Natatia is a model of determination,” says Ballet Society founder and director, Patricia Hoffman. “Once she set her mind to a professional career in dance, she was willing to do whatever it took to grasp that dream. Through the highs and lows, she trusted that we could help her achieve her career aspirations and we don’t take that lightly. Her talent, focus, determination and heart have brought her to this launching point. As her journey continues to unfold, we’ll continue to celebrate with her as her dreams are realized.”
Natatia's final class with Colorado Ballet Society before heading to the Princess Grace Academy in Monte Carlo, Monaco