When You Listen To Yourself.
Guest: Nathalie von den Hombergh
Position: International professional dancer, life coach, entrepreneur
Date: 9 January 2019
Author: Virginia Cacciavillan
“My story is about being my own best friend.” Nathalie von den Hombergh stated at the beginning of our Ignition Lab. She stood before us with the unbelievable posture of a professional dancer and the soothing smile of a dear friend. Explaining how she did not plan the speech she was going to present and how she was ‘following her gut’ today, a recurring theme during her presentation.
Nathalie started ballet at 4 years old, but she did not decide to do it professionally until a friend told her about dance school in high school. She mentioned she has always been a good student throughout her school life but noticed towards the end of her senior years that there wasn't a path she wanted to take apart from dance. So, she started in Amsterdam and East Holland after overcoming very selective auditions by entering prestigious dance crews. In those schools, she danced from 9 am to 6 pm five days a week, and in the weekends she was so tired she didn’t even want to go out because of how exhausting it was. She also talked about how during those exhausting hours she was always in front of a mirror, and how that impacted her self-esteem and confidence.
While improving on her career Nathalie was planning on going abroad to study and work: the opportunity of a more prestigious place was crucial for a dancer. As she was deciding though, her father was diagnosed with cancer. That meant that she had to stay in Holland and look after him, stay near him at this difficult time. While still at home she noticed that a part of her still wanted to do something different: something more. She discovered that teaching her dance routines was something she enjoyed profoundly, and also ‘being yourself’ was something she had to develop more.
Unfortunately, soon after her father passed away, and after recovering from the loss Nathalie von den Hombergh enrolled in a dance crew where the selection was of 4/400; and she got in. ‘It was a dream’ she stated. But went on with telling us how the more she continued the more she realized she did not like the atmosphere she was in: they were not listening to their ideas or considering them as human. “I started feeling like every blonde woman of 1.70 cm could’ve gotten the place.” And that truly is a horrible feeling: feeling valueless. So she dropped the contract.
I believe these are issues every teenager and young adult faces: confidence and meaningfulness are things a lot of people struggle with and her talking to us so bluntly about them made them seem less insignificant; giving the right importance to a problem which is usually frowned upon.
Finally, Nathalie told us about her workshops that she developed. Where she would study human behavior accordingly to how they moved after a dance instruction: so why they curve or bend their arms instead of keeping them completely straight. How she is developing herself to become a coach as coaching is another aspect she is passionate about and the truthfulness about being yourself.
We ended the period with some group stretches and called it a day, but after she warmingly told us we could reach out to her at any moment if we ever needed some support.