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Strictly's Natalie was a child star
STRICTLY star Natalie Gumede taught dance routines to other children at the tender age of 12, according to her drama teacher.
Denise Somerfield, a former drama teacher at Park High School in Colne, taught Natalie from the age 11 to 15.
Natalie, 29, later shot to fame playing abusive Kirsty Soames in Coronation Street and took to our screens on Saturday in the first episode of the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Denise said: “I can remember that her acting and dancing ability stood out from a young age.
“When she was in year nine, she was cast as one of the main roles in the play version of Bloodbrothers against year 11 children, but none of them resented her for it as they could see how talented she was.
“In the musical Rockasocka, which she was in when she was in year eight, there was quite a lot of song and dance which she really enjoyed doing.
“She was quick to pick up the dance routines and I remember her teaching them to the younger children.
“When she started acting at school, it was very obvious that she had a lot of talent.
"She could really get into the character and make an emotional connection.
“When we were had costume fittings, unlike other children who were very concerned about how they looked, Natalie knew that the character she was playing was a comedy character and that much of the comedy arose from the visual appearance.
“I had no doubt that Natalie would go on to do big things. I’m excited to see how she does in Strictly.
“I have my fingers crossed for her.”
In her younger years, Natalie gained her advanced level certificates in ballet, tap and modern jazz at Chippendale School of Dance in Colne.
After finishing high school she attended the London Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.
Since appearing on our screens on Saturday, she has faced criticism over her dance background giving her an unfair advantage.
Speaking on the show, Natalie said: “I always wanted to be a dancer but I got an injury at 19 which meant that was not an option anymore.
“But now I can’t wait to get Strictly-fied. Bring on the sequins, bring on the glamour. I’m ready.”
Natalie is partnered with Artem Chigvintsev who won the competition in 2010 with soap star Kara Tointon who played Dawn Swann in EastEnders.
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