Natalie Bonniwell 16 ~ Buster Cooper Jazz Scholarship
Dance is a very important aspect of my life. With the help of my dance instructor, I practice many hours a week in hopes that my hard work will pay off in the future. Dancing has taught my several life skills including discipline and perseverance, which are helpful in many aspects of life. It has encouraged me to grow as both a dancer and a person and I hope to continue growing as I pursue my dreams.
I’m currently on the senior elite team at Imagery in Motion Dance in Argyle, Texas. This August, I will have been dancing for a total of 4 years. I have obtained various awards in the past including the Talent On Parade TOP Starz award, a scholarship to the Monsters of Contemporary, a convention scholarship to the West Coast Dance Explosion, a scholarship to Doug and Friends, and a High Point First Place award at a Stage One competition. My dance studies include ballet, point, contemporary, jazz, lyrical, modern, musical theatre/character, and hip-hop. I enjoy all styles of dance but my most favorable types are jazz and lyrical. I also favor ballet since, it is the core of most styles and is very important to know.
My goals this year include receiving high scores on my solos at competition and acquiring scholarships for dance intensives or conventions. I hope to attend workshops this summer including the Talent On Parade Go Pro workshop and The Collective in LA. In the next two years I hope to receive a scholarship for college in order to become a dance major and eventually pursue my goal in the professional world. Becoming a professional dancer is my main goal in life and I hope to achieve it through hard work.
Although I’ve accomplishes some goals of mine I still have many that I wish to achieve. Through practice and discipline I will hopefully fulfill my dreams as a dancer. Attending the Talent On Parade Go Pro workshop would benefit me in many ways and I am looking forward to it.
As I’m approaching my final week of summer and preparing for my junior year of high school I’m so very grateful looking back at the opportunity I was given, thanks to the Dallas Dance Council. The Buster Cooper Jazz Scholarship that I received allowed me to attend the Talent On Parade Go Pro workshop, which was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve never learned or grown so much in a single week as I did at Go Pro. I also made some amazing friends with people from all over the country that I’ve stayed in touch with and plan to see again in the near future.
I was nervous when I arrived at the Box Car Willies Hotel, where we roomed for the week, because I wasn’t sure what to expect. Shortly after settling in, the dancers prepared to perform our solos before the choreographers with whom we would be spending the week—very intimidating! To calm our nerves we all got to know each other and introduced ourselves while we were called up one at a time to perform. Everyone was very friendly and we all got a long very well. Once we had all performed our solos we went back to the hotel to swim and rest for the busy week we had ahead of us.
We spent the first two days learning/auditioning for the four numbers our group would be performing in the show. Once they announced who would be in what numbers, we used the next two days to finish them and space them out on the stage along with tech rehearsal. Though we were having fun and working hard from 9-4 in the studio everyday, we still managed to find time to have some fun outside of the studio as well. Our afternoon activities included a trip to the ice cream parlor, a night at the outdoor mall, a chance to see Step Up 4 in theater, and a trip to the water park. Along with our meals together and rehearsals, these activities allowed all of us dancers to become really close with one another.
At the end of the week we had three shows on Saturday and Sunday. Once we finished the last show we were all very sad to have to say good-bye to one each other. My roommate and I, as well as many other dancers that I met, still stay in touch and plan on seeing each other at conventions and competitions this year. I also made some great connections with the choreographers that we worked with during the week including Helene Phillips, Tina Cooper, Becca Sweitzer, Rhonda Miller, and her assistant Madison Embrey. I received some great feedback and advice from them and Don Mirault (one of the directors of Talent On Parade). Along with the lessons we learned from our instructors during the week, we also had a tutorial to teach us the do’s and don’ts of everything from auditions and headshots to stage make-up. It’s safe to say that I learned a lot about show business and what it’s like to be in a show during that week.
I’m so grateful for this experience, it changed me so much and taught me things that I can share with the girls at my studio, Imagery In Motion Dance, that will help us improve our dancing. I can’t thank the Dance Council and Buster Cooper enough for my scholarship. I’m also very thankful for the staff at Talent On Parade for allowing me to attend their workshop and be in their show in Branson. There’s nothing better than spending a week with 43 people who are just as passionate about what they do as I am. Go Pro was the experience of a lifetime and I’m so lucky to have been able to be a part of it.