The teen, who lives at Maple Lake with her parents, Dennis and Rose, and sister Ana, started out dancing with Deb Fontaine’s School of Dance in Mentor for two years and also with Mary Noel’s School of Dance in Crookston for seven years. Since 2006, she has been affiliated with the North Dakota Ballet Company in Grand Forks. She's had additional training at Broadway Dance Center (2008 and 2010) and Steps on Broadway (2010), both in New York City.
Koch participated in a dance competition sponsored by Triple S Dance Competitions of Burnsville that was held in Fargo on March 6. More than 200 individuals participated in solos, duos/trios, small groups and large groups. Twelve studios from Minnesota and North Dakota were represented.
Koch performed two solos, with great results. "Feeling Good" earned her first place for the senior jazz solo category and her other solo, "Honest," also also earned first place, in the senior lyrical solo category. In overall awards for seniors, she won two out of the top five. "Feeling Good" earned first place over all senior solos in this competition, and "Honest" earned third place over all senior solos. She was invited to perform both solos at Triple S's national competition this summer and was among a select group invited to participate in a "Chance to Dance" showcase during nationals. To top it all off, she was honored with a partial scholarship to Ellen Werksman's dance workshop in Chicago this summer, which she plans to attend.
At the Spotlight Dance Competition held in Bismarck April 29-May 1, Koch also had great success. Her two solos each earned "ruby" awards, with an invitation to nationals. This was a new experience for her, as NDBC has not participated in the Spotlight competition previously. She was the only one from NDBC's senior group to earn the ruby award.
She participated in a "dance down," which, as her mothers explains, is like an audition “where you learn and perform a piece on short notice and then fewer and fewer get called back on each successive round until there are only four left standing.” While Koch did not make the final four, she made a good impression and learned a lot. She was the only one from NDBC to participate in the dance down.
Koch's solo competition credits include: Dance Olympus Dancer of the Year Nationals in 2005 (New York City, where “Chicago, Illinois” earned 5th place in category), IDC Nationals 2009 (Boston, MA, where “Gold” earned Sterling Silver Champion) and 2010 (Orlando, FL, where “Think” and “Keep It Loose” each earned Gold Champion, “Slow Me Down” earned Sterling Silver Champion). Natalie was selected IDC’s National Dance Week Center Stage award recipient from the Bismarck regional competition, out of more than 200 dancers.
Additional solo credits include Triple S Nationals 2010 (where “Slow Me Down” earned 3rd, “Keep It Loose” earned 4th and “Think” earned 7th place in categories) and 2011 (national qualifier, nationals to occur June, 2011, solos took 1st “Feeling Good” and 3rd “Honest” over all seniors at regional). Natalie also earned an invitation to the “Chance to Dance” Showcase and won partial scholarship for Ellen Werksman’s “Dancewerks” both 2010 and 2011 with Triple S (she plans to attend Dancewerks this summer).
When not at the studio, Natalie enjoys tennis (two year letter winner, section team participant) and choir, and also is on the honor roll at school.