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60 seconds with... Natalie Russell

In a nutshell describe your job and how you got into it

Natalie Russell. Photo by Philip Russell.After training from the age of 15 with Yoko Ichino at BalletMet Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, and dancing professionally with BalletMet for one year, I joined Northern Ballet.  I had four and a half fantastic years touring with the company but unfortunately had to retire due to a foot injury in 2006. I took some time away from the dance scene so to speak, but it turns out dance is my addiction!  I just couldn't resist the temptation to come back and teach when invited to do so in September 2010.  Now a year on I've gone from teaching the Pre-Ballet students and Intermediate Associates on a Saturday morning to teaching everyday apart, from Sunday and Monday, and a wide variety of classes.  We’re three weeks into the new academic year and I'm absolutely loving it – especially the newest additions to our wide range of classes on offer – Ballet Fusion and ZUMBA®.  Ballet Fusion is a combination of things.  It's like a cocktail of ballet, Pilates, aerobics, cardio, and stretching.  As a retired dancer I find it to be a great workout.  Be rest assured though, I haven't danced in a VERY long time and just had a baby this past March so anyone can do this class, promise!  It's set to current upbeat music and we target specific muscle groups paired with stretching to achieve long lean muscles.  And then there's ZUMBA®. I teach this class twice weekly and it's an absolute blast!  The best workout I've had in a long time and the beauty of it is that you don't feel like you're working out (well maybe just a bit!).  You can't help but shake your hips when you hear the Latin music and it truly does create a party like atmosphere.  Again, anyone can do this class and it really does put a smile on your face.  So in a not so tiny nutshell that's my job!  Mummy during the day, Ballet/Fusion/ZUMBA® teacher by night!

Where can you be found when you’re not at Northern Ballet?

Well, funnily enough it seems most of my classes are in Studio 5 at Northern Ballet so it's like a second home to me now!  So either in Studio 5 or in the Academy Office.

Which is your favourite Northern Ballet production and why?

That's a really tricky question. I guess my favourite would have to be the one that I remember the most from my dancing days and that would be Dangerous Liaisons.  This was my first lead role in a ballet and probably the highlight of my dancing career.  I have such fond memories of rehearsing and performing this ballet and really enjoyed getting into the character.

I’m a frustrated…

As strange as it might sound, greeting card designer!  Oh, and baker.  I love baking and cooking, especially baking.  I have a bit of a sweet tooth!

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Again, tricky question.  Can I play myself?  I've always fancied acting!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I've been given lots of great advice but the one thing that really sticks out in my head is ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’.  I try to live by this and hope that I can teach my son to as well.  If everyone did then the world would be a much happier place.

What song will always get you dancing?

Gotta love anything by ABBA! 

What scares you?

Losing my loved ones.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

I'm sad to say I'm not very good at trivia!

If you were on a reality TV show which would it be and go on and why?

No way!  Not me.  I think I'd go crazy on a reality TV show if we're talking something like Big Brother.  Now, if Strictly Come Dancing is considered reality TV and they'd let me on I'd go on in a heartbeat – I really want to learn all those different dances.  And I reckon with my pasty skin a good ol' ballroom dancer fake tan would do me some good this winter!   

What do you want to do before you die?

Travel east to west coast of the States in an RV (motor home).  There's so much of my home country that I've never seen.

It’s your dream dinner party – which six people (dead or alive) would you invite?

Really?  Only 6?! Ok, well I guess it would have to be Audrey Hepburn, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, BB King, Grace Kelly and my husband (he brings any party to life!).

A phrase I use far too much is…

 ‘Awesome’ – sometimes my American roots just have to come out!

Describe yourself in three words?

Nurturing, optimistic, and silly.