Natalie Lubinski leaps toward her future with acceptance to San Francisco Ballet School


Photo courtesy of Natalie Lubinski

Gracefully refining her technique, Lubinski practices her back attitude at the barre at San Francisco Ballet school, where she takes classes.

Lucie James

A single spotlight, pristine point shoes, and an opportunity to perform on stage in front of a full audience. This is what dancer and freshman Natalie Lubinski has been seeking since her ballet career began at the age of three. Lubinski has dreamed of becoming a professional ballet dancer ever since she was eight years old, and it was this year that her hard work paid off when she was accepted into the San Francisco Ballet School.

The San Francisco Ballet School is a dance company in San Francisco that allows young dancers to pursue their passions at a more advanced level. Being a part of the San Francisco Ballet School opens up many opportunities for young dancers, namely dancing professionally according to Lubinski.

Courtesy of Natalie Lubinski
Wearing a pink tutu, Lubinski dances in the Nutcracker when she was little.

“It is a huge commitment, and it’s hard to balance it with schoolwork because I don’t get home until 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. most nights. It’s a really good opportunity and a great experience because I’m surrounded by people who love dancing just as much as I do,” Lubinski said.

Lubinski danced with Stapleton School of the Performing Arts in San Anselmo prior to her acceptance in the San Francisco Ballet School.

Lubinski’s former dance teacher, Virginia Stapleton, is the founder of Stapleton ballet, and knew that Lubinski had talent ever since Lubinski began dancing.

“When I’m watching as a teacher, her diligence, her commitment and the maturity of how she approached taking her classes stood out to me. Every detail she would take and absorb like a sponge. At that young of an age it’s unusual, because she made her body work, and she could achieve what she was asked to do. She was very conscious about everything she was doing,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton was part of Lubinski’s ballet experience since she was little, and beyond that Lubinski also attended the San Francisco Ballet summer intensive program, which is a required prerequisite before applying and auditioning to get into the actual program.

According to Lubinski, pursuing dance at a more intense level allows her to push herself and grow as a dancer. The thrill of performing on stage is what drives Lubinski to work hard and perfect each detail of her dances.

“As students, we don’t get many opportunities on stage. Performances are a way to show people the hard work I put in, and I just love the feeling of being on stage with the lights and the audience. It’s really fun,” Lubinski said.

Photo courtesy of Natalie Lubinski
Gracefully refining her technique, Lubinski practices her back attitude at the barre at San Francisco Ballet school, where she takes classes.

Lubinski’s cousin Katie Connors, who is also a dancer and a freshman at Redwood, used to dance and perform with Lubinski at Stapleton Ballet. According to Connors, she was proud to hear that Lubinski made it into the San Francisco Ballet.

“I knew she was good enough because she has always been so good and so into it. I knew she was on the path, I just wasn’t sure she was going to make it in. I was really happy for her when she did,” Connors said.

Connors is looking forward to see where Lubinski’s ballet career will take her, as she has at least a couple years of dancing with the San Francisco Ballet ahead of her.

Although Lubinski has expressed excitement over being admitted to the school, she is aware of the increased rigor and pressure involved. Stapleton herself experienced the pressure of the San Francisco Ballet as she danced for the company prior to becoming a teacher, so she is glad, that the San Francisco Ballet has recognized Lubinski for her talent and unique style of dance, which has always stood out to Stapleton.

Photo courtesy of Natalie Lubinski
Practicing in the studio, Lubinski goes through a dance number.

“She has a very lovely style and it’s wonderful to watch her to perform. I love her style of dance; it’s very personal to her. A lot of kids can be really technical, and she is very technical, but the technician isn’t going to make it. You have to have something more beyond that that talks to the audience, and I think Natalie has that capability,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton recently saw Lubinski perform for the San Francisco Ballet School, and is looking forward to seeing her develop her technique in the coming years. For now, Lubinski is focusing on enjoying her time dancing with San Francisco Ballet.

“I love how challenging ballet is and love that I can decide how hard I work, and the amount of improvement I see. I don’t know what my future has in store for me because there is still so much to learn and I still have a few more years of high school. My goal is to dance professionally with a company,” Lubinski said.

Lubinski will be playing a Garland Girl in San Francisco Ballet’s next show, Sleeping Beauty, which opens on March 9.