Natalia Garcia; The Original Story
Although she’s a 5th grader at Clow Elementary school, Natalia Garcia is dancing at a level far beyond her years. Dancing with the Underground Allegro Dance, the ten year old is now winning competitions across the country while expressing herself through dance.
“Dance allows me to express my true feelings without talking. It just let’s me doing it even if I’m feel sad, it lets me release it. If I’m mad, it lets me release it too. I just express it through there.”
While dance allows 10 year old Natalia Garcia to express herself… the feeling most prevalent these days is fulfillment. She’s enjoying dancing, competition and the process it takes to win.
“I felt very, very proud because I was versing very, very amazing girls and I’m friends with most of them so it’s hard competing. For me it’s not about winning, just the feeling of how proud I am of myself. It just takes over everything.
“Some moms say I’m proud so easily but for me it’s hard. I don’t cry, but last Saturday, I cried. I was just really proud because she worked so hard for it.
Start of her Winning Ways
Garcia is coming off wins on back to back weekends – first at the Dancemakers Inc competition, and then again at the Hall of Fame competition. Her routine is serious… but the hours spent getting ready are fueled by an infectious personality.
“She’s a firecracker – like, the most energetic sweet soul – you get that from the moment you meet her. She’s smiling from ear to ear all the time.
Callie Marik is the owner of Natalia’s studio – Underground Allegro Dance Center – and part of the team that coaches the 10 year old star. Along with Jessica Brewster, the choreographer of Natalia’s Dance, they infuse her routine with fundamental techniques rooted in ballet.
“While we’re a competitive team, we have a serious classical edge. They kids here are training very seriously in technique – both ballet, contemporary jazz, really serious about maintaining that base of technique.
This wasn’t always the path for Natalia. Despite dancing from the moment she could walk, she gave it up between the ages of 4 and 5 to play soccer. But that didn’t last long.
“I felt like I was missing something… so when I got back to it, it just jumpstarted from there”
“Dancing is my life, honestly. I do play soccer sometimes at school but dancing is my main focus.”
Natalia Garcia Update
In the year since we first met Natalia, the talented dancer has started attending the Chicago School of Ballet, taking classes three to four times a week. Meanwhile, Garcia still works closely with Brewster, focusing on contemporary dance.
Before the COVID-19 Pandemic struck, Garcia won Nationals, beating out 169 contestants for the top honor. She was also chosen to travel the country as an assistant for DanceMakers Inc. – accompanying many of the dancers who found fame on the tv show “So You Think You Can Dance”. Making stops in San Antonio, Seattle, Richmond, and Kansas City among other cities, Natalia kept very busy.
Since, like the rest of the world, dance events have been put on pause, Garcia now takes classes remotely, while working out in her mother’s studio. Helping to pay it forward, Garcia is also instructing juniors remotely as a volunteer during the shelter in place order.
Once restrictions are lifted – the soon to be 7th grader is eager to get back on the road and dancing once more.
Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman
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