This Weeks Dancer/ Choreographer shout out goes to Natalie Lyons. Born in Nova Scotia raised in Halifax. Natalie made the journey to Toronto right after high school to pursue her education at the University of Toronto as well as expand her Dance opportunities training with different Choreographers. In 2006 she auditioned for Do Dat Entertainment and began performing at many events from Toronto to L.A under the direction of Luther Brown. She continued to take different classes and workshops in Toronto. Having the drive and Passion Natalie decided to move to L.A 3 years ago to take her Dance Career even further. After being inspired at a workshop in Toronto she started learning how to Krump under the direction of Miss Prissy and LiL C. Natalie’s had a great start to her career, having had the opportunity to Dance on the Nickelodeon show The Fresh Beat Band, perform in live stage shows and music video’s with Nelly Furtado and Timbaland, Usher, Divine Brown,Willow Smith, Big Boi Feat Mary J Blige and more. Natalie has toured Canada and performed at Many events as well as land a Sony Camera Print Ad along side Canadian Artist Keisha Chante. In 2009 Natalie returned to Toronto to audition for the second season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Hitting a high point in her career Natalie made the Top 20, coming into the competition as the Female Hip Hop and Krump Dancer from Nova Scotia. Natalie showed her audience that she was capable of being more than just a Hip Hop dancer performing in different genres and making it to Top 14. Natalie continues to enjoy her new home in L.A training with some of the industries finest as well as teaching kids once a week. Although her Dance career has brought her to L.A she got her jump start here in Toronto. Check Out what Natalie had to say in this weeks shout out.
Bio written by Nikki
Nikki:Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Natalie: The first thing I remember is dancing in the ballet class my mom put me in . When I was 3 years old, we had to dance “across the floor” pretending to be a butterfly.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Natalie: I think it was to the backstreet boys, tlc, or spice girls- Can’t remember which was first
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Natalie: If you want to be a good freestyler, you have to turn on different songs, whether you know them or not, and listen to all the beats, try to work with different rhythms and even by using the basics of hip hop, try to create different moves. Try for at least an hour a day.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Natalie: Finding the right song is important, Sometimes I get in the zone when I don’t think about trying to be in the zone, like when I’m at home in the kitchen cooking while listening to some bomb.com jams.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Natalie: I have many… though Luther Brown is a huge influence. He has that real east coast ‘ flava flav ‘. Miss Prissy and L’il C have definitely inspired me to want to get into Krump. Artists from Janet to MJ, Missy Elliott , Chris Brown and Ciara make me super inspired to learn the styles they use.
Nikki: Being from Halifax what made you make the move to Toronto?
Natalie: Halifax is a great place to get the proper foundation as a dancer, but if you want to be a working dancer, I knew I had to get out. I wanted to learn real hip hop, more of it, and I wasn’t going to settle for anything but the best.
Nikki: What was it like being a contestant on season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada?
Natalie: Being a contestant was a really big deal for me. Wasn’t expecting it at all. You get so much thrown at you at once which is great but very challenging. It’s like a roller coaster ride…Emotions are always up and down. But a great experience working with so many amazing choreographers. I learned a lot in a short amount of time.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Natalie: Luther Brown- His positive energy and motivation makes me want to fight for it. Expects nothing but the best.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Natalie: It would have to be Willow Smith. During the taping of her video shoot, her and her family were so welcoming and professional. No divas. They wanted to make sure we were comfortable in our outfits, and that they were our style. She cheered us on during freestyle section. Everything ran smoothly and on time. It’s nice because she was there to have fun, thats all that mattered. I love when I see kids, they’re never tainted by the industry.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Natalie: I teach 1 day a week + dance shows( learning from different choreographers) at the W hotel (Drais Nightclub) once a week.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess that dancers from other parts of the Country and States may not?
Natalie: Better class etiquette
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Natalie: Train from as many people as possible (research to get the proper training) , be well – rounded and stay focused.
THANK YOU NATALIE FOR BEING A PART OF T.D.O.T. XO
Check out some of Natalies Journey on So You Think You Can Dance Canada with her partner Danny.