Natalie Broyles

Photo by Jessica Nuzzo

Natalie Broyles demonstrates some of her favorite ballet positions at Princeton Dance Studio, after spending a month at the Charlotte Ballet Summer Intensive.

PRINCETON — Natalie Broyles, of the Princeton Dance Studio, was selected to attend the elite Charlotte Ballet Summer Intensive.

According to a press release from Natalie’s mother, Charlotte Ballet’s Summer Intensive is recognized for its strong training, diverse classes, rigorous schedule and supportive facility. At Charlotte Ballet, dancers are encouraged to refine their strength in classical ballet technique and explore new movement.

The dancers train six days per week, ages 11 through 22, with renowned resident and guest teachers, including Director Hope Muir. The Summer Intensive concluded with the Summer Repertory Performances on July 27, 2019.

According to Charlotte Ballet Academy’s website, staff evaluates about 1,000 dancers each year as part of their National Audition Tour. The audition process is competitive, with just over 100 spots available in the Charlotte Ballet Summer Intensive.

“She was invited to join the Princeton Performing Arts Company this past fall and she really loves to dance, we are here like 17 hours a week, so she decided to audition for the Charlotte Ballet,” Lorrie Broyles said. “The plan was to experience the audition, just so she would know how the audition would go, we were not expecting to get in the first time and we found out she got accepted. I was not quite prepared to send her away for a month.”

At just 12 years old, Natalie was able to secure one of those spots from her extensive training at the Princeton Dance Studio under the direction of Janis Gunnoe. Natalie has danced at the studio since she was 5 years old and takes as many classes as she can including pointe, ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop, and contemporary. She is also a member of the Princeton Performing Arts Company.

“I have been dancing for nine years,” Natalie Broyles said. “I think from the start I knew I was going to dance for a while and I really love it so I knew it was my passion. I tried gymnastics for a year, but I figured out that isn’t what I want to do so I switched back to dance.”

At Princeton Dance Studio, Natalie knows everyone. At Charlotte’s Ballet Academy, Natalie was able to experience a whole new setting in dance. Her mother, Lorrie, said she was a but worried how she would react to that, but she loved it.

The students at the Academy’s summer intensive are completely responsible for themselves. They have to get themselves up in the morning and know when and where they are supposed to be for their classes.

“The biggest thing I learned from the Charlotte Dance Academy is to never give up,” Natalie Broyles said. “We had classes from 9:30 in the morning to 5 in the evenings so that taught me I couldn’t give up or I was going to fail.”

Owner of Princeton Dance Studio, Gunnoe said that while Natalie was young to be accepted to the program, she is not the first of her students to be accepted and with Natalie’s drive to be successful, she was not surprised.

“You never know with those big schools like that and she is only 12 years old. She is very young to be accepted. We told her to take the audition as a class, not necessarily thinking that you are going to get anything. You never know what someone will see in you, though,” Gunnoe said. “I am sure she has improved so much and just the experience I am sure is life-changing. They are responsible for themselves during that time. They have to know what classes they are going to, what time they have to be up, they have to do their own laundry; they are treated as adults.”

Natalie said the biggest struggle at Charlotte Dance Academy’s summer ballet intensive was the contemporary section of the program. She said they had to do eight pique turns in a circle. She said she was struggling, but by the end of the intensive, she nailed it.

“No matter what career path she takes, the commitment that she has shown for this will help her with whatever she chooses,” Lorrie Broyles said.

Natalie attends Peterstown Middle School and her favorite subject is math. She normally practices five to six days per week at the Princeton Dance Studio.

— Contact Emily Rice at and follow her on Twitter @BDTrice

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