Natalie began her dance training in Columbus, Ohio and when the family moved to DeKalb, IL she continued her dance training in Chicago several days a week.
If The Academy had been in existence at that time, she most certainly would have auditioned for the school. Like many of The Academy's students she traveled 3 hours round trip several days a week to fulfill her passion. After graduating from high school a year ahead of her peers, she continued her dance training at Northern Illinois University.
Natalie joined Joel Hall Dancer in February of 1981. She was a featured soloist in several pieces as well as being fortunate to being part of new works that were choreographed by Joel Hall or guest choreographers. In those years the company toured nationally as well as internationally. An unfortunate foot injury in December 1986 put her in rehab for six months. She returned to the dance studio with a passion to continue to move forward in her dance career with a different company. She worked with the Chicago Dance Medium, a modern based Chicago company.as we as other local independent choreographers. In 1991 she rejoined Joel Hall Dancers for a tour to Bergen, Norway at the Bergen Arts Festival.
She has served as ballet mistress for Winifred Haun & Dancers and Zephyr Dance Ensemble, and has been an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago 1988-2017. In 2006 she established Rast Ballet & Dance Studio, catering to adult student as well as teens. Rast joined the dance faculty of The Chicago Academy for the Arts in August of 2007.
Having taught ballet and pointe for over 35 years now, Natalie is first and foremost a naturally caring, supportive teacher who makes sure her students truly enjoy what they learn. She tries to let her passion for the art form help others transform themselves into the artists that they are placed on this earth for.