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West Jordan Journal

Home studio encourages love of dance

Feb 09, 2024 04:12PM ● By Linda Steele |

Sunset Dancers Pointe Company students each performed a solo as a different movie princess at last year’s spring recital. (Courtesy Mandie Petersen)

Natalie Conforto danced recreationally most of her life, taking 12 years of ballet as a child.  

 When her three daughters were old enough, she wanted them to dance. She put one daughter in a dance class, but the studio required a lot of time and it was far away. Conforto decided to try teaching her daughters at home. She asked some friends to join her at her studio. At the end of the year they put together a show and performed it at the library.  Conforto found she enjoyed teaching and her daughters enjoyed dancing.

Later on, Conforto decided to involve more people and start a co-op. She found other people who were interested in teaching different styles of dance and tumbling. She arranged to use her church building to offer free dance. There were moms that added their help and used their talents to sew costumes, chaperone and paint backdrops. She kept this going for two years, and it was all free. 

“Although I had been intimidated and nervous to teach ballet, I learned that I could do it—the terms and movements came back to me, and it was a thrill to watch the littles executing the movements I’d conveyed and feel so proud of themselves,” Conforto said. 

“Choreographing seemed to unlock a creativity that I never knew I possessed. It feels like painting, but the composition is always moving in time to my favorite music. It is bottling joy for just a moment.”  

Conforto and her husband built a dance studio in the basement of their home. Natalie’s husband is a second-degree black belt in Shotokon Karate. The studio is turned into a dojo two times a week to teach his karate classes. 

Having the studio in her home allows Conforto to offer dance classes that parents can afford. 

“I wanted to serve families like mine by keeping dance affordable,” she said. She offers discounts to those who need it and never charges for performances. Most classes at the studio are an hour long, with the exception of her pointe students. They need to take three classes a week to keep their feet strong. She has 12 pointe students. Each dancer in the Pointe Company gets the chance to have a solo role in a performance. 

“The pointe students having a solo gives them a chance to show their talent they have worked hard for,” Conforto said. They perform in nursing homes, schools, expos and libraries. Last year the pointe students each performed as a different movie princess.

It is a great pleasure for Conforto to teach her students and see them learn, perform, and feel proud of themselves. “I showed them how to do it and it actually worked and there they are on stage performing and they are so proud.” 

When she was young taking ballet class, Conforto remembers hating it because her teacher was mean and always criticizing her. When the studio where she danced hired another teacher, everything changed for her. The new teacher was very complimentary and told her she had beautiful posture. Conforto was shocked because nobody had ever told her that before. The teacher’s compliments really helped her feel confident that she could dance, and that she was good at it. 

“That little bit of positivity from that teacher changed it all for me.” 

Conforto wants to be a positive teacher and help students feel good about themselves, know they can dance and feel beautiful. Ballet is about using your limbs to create beautiful lines. “It doesn’t matter what body type you have, you can hold yourself like royalty. I like to tell my girls, ‘Remember to lift, you are a queen, you are so beautiful.’ I love making the dancers feel beautiful,” she said. 

Conforto has hired a few other teachers to teach jazz, hip-hop, tumbling, contemporary dance and even a newly hired Irish dance teacher. 

The studio offers classes for ages 3 and up, even adults. The studio is not a competition studio, the focus is on enjoyment and recreation. 

Every year the studio performs ‘The Nutcracker.’ They perform all styles of dance in the traditionally ballet-only classic. They also perform a spring recital every year. This spring they are putting on ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ The Pointe Company dancers will each perform a solo, with class groups performing as flying monkeys, munchkins, jitterbugs, poppies, lullaby league, Ozians and Irish dancers of the Emerald City. The performance will be May 18 at 2 p.m. at West Hills Middle School. There is no charge for attendance. For more information go to λ