Natalie teaches STRUT PROFESSIONAL CLASS: details here
Born in Perth, Allen was an active child, and was already involved in a wide variety of sports when she caught the dance bug at the age of ten. Watching her younger sister in a dance school concert she saw that, “she was having fun and I wanted to be a part of that”, beginning jazz and acro classes shortly afterwards. A couple of years later, she successfully auditioned for the specialist dance program at John Curtin College of Arts, where her experience of dance styles broadened with such classes as ballet, contemporary, Spanish, tap, capoeira, choreography and improvisation. Despite having to travel a long way from her suburban home to get there and back, Allen somehow found time to participate in more dance activities out of school hours, including Steps Youth Dance Company (where she won a scholarship that enabled her to attend a dance festival in America) and extra ballet classes.
After finishing school she completed a three year Advanced Diploma in Dance at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, receiving the WAAPA Inaugural Hawaiian Award for Dance for the most outstanding graduate in 2008. A highlight of her time there was being selected to go overseas for six months in her second year to study at the Taipei National University in Taiwan as an exchange student with Richard Cilli (fellow WAAPA student and formerly with SDC). Allen says that half the classes there were given in Chinese but that she started to pick up the language towards the end of her stay and loved the people and the culture of Taiwan. For the most part she studied similar subjects to those at WAAPA but was also able to learn traditional Chinese forms of Tai Chi, Kung Fu and Chinese Opera.
She joined Leigh Warren and Dancers in Adelaide just one week before graduating. In 2009 she toured around regional Australia with the company. When it arrived in Sydney she auditioned for SDC, receiving a contract to start in 2010. She has been there ever since.
When asked about her career highlights Allen cites the international touring she has done with SDC, from Venice to Barcelona, New York and London. She also nominates two parts she has danced in the last year, her solo in Rafael Bonachela’s 2 One Another and a lead role in Larissa McGowan’s Fanatic. “Fanatic was not only dancing or tumbling, it was character driven”, she says, and it was “the theatrical aspect of the work that appealed”. She does not have a favourite dance style but particularly enjoys choreography and improvisation, telling me she chose contemporary dance, “because it is bigger and broader, with more room in the art form to grow”.
Natalie has recently returned to her birth city and is working in a variety of independent constellations.