Natalie Benally is born into the Grey Streaked Ends Clan and born for the Red Running into Water Clan. Her Maternal Grandparents are the Zuni Pueblo Clan and her Paternal Grandparents are the Water’s Edge Clan. As a young Diné girl growing up on the Navajo Reservation, Natalie’s first dance studio was the land she was surrounded by, which taught her movement embedded in cultural connection and storytelling. She is also a self-taught hip hop dancer. Natalie attended Fort Lewis College where she earned a BA in theatre – Performing and Directing in 2010 and was a first generation college graduate in her family. She then returned to her home community and started an after-school dance club. The lack of Native representation in the theater and dance communities inspired her to return to Fort Lewis College in Fall 2013 to pursue a degree in secondary drama education. She took part in her first production with Dancing Earth Contemporary Dance Company, which she then joined, touring throughout the US and Norway. She still dances with the company and conducts outreach workshops with Native youth in tribal communities locally, nationally and internationally.
Natalie performed the lead role of Dory in the Navajo dubbed version of Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo and directed/choreographed the production I’m Native And… for Fort Lewis College’s inaugural Indigenous Arts Festival, which was then invited to the Los Angeles Kennedy Center for the Arts’ Regional College Theater Festival in 2019. In addition to performing, she works as the Indigenous Programs Coordinator for Girls Inc. of Santa Fe. She is also co-founding a mixed media storytelling company, Tse’Nato’, where she hopes to continue sharing stories of the Native experience through dance, theater, and film. She was recently awarded the Senator John Pinto Native American Filmmakers Fund in 2020 to direct a short film entitled “Mother’s Day”.