Meet The Women Who Want To Earn Their Boots: Natsuki

Posted Apr 4, 2018

Natsuki traveled to Indianapolis and went home with a dream - to become a Colts cheerleader. She's chased that dream half way around the world. Now, she's ready to make it a reality.

Born and raised in Kobe, Japan – like many girls, Natsuki grew up dancing around the house – only she never stopped.

“When I was eight years old, I joined a hip-hop class,” she says. “That was the start of my dancing career.”

In junior high, she joined a softball club that was mostly made up of boys. Longing for something a little more feminine, she found it in cheerleading.

“My high school had a cheer dance club. The cheerleaders looked very shiny and pretty to me. I got into that club and that was my first encounter with cheer dance.”

And she never looked back.

“I belonged to a professional cheer dance team while I was in college. This team is a cheer dance team dedicated to the professional soccer team ‘Gamba Osaka,’” she says. “I danced in front of forty thousand people at the stadium every game day.”

She even served as captain last year and calls it a great experience. But it was crossing paths with retiring Colts cheerleader, Yuka that fueled her next dream.

“I met Yuka, who was a Colts cheerleader, in Japan two years ago. I was not interested in NFL cheerleading until I met her. She changed my life. We talked about a lot of things, she became my inspiration.”

In November of 2016, Natsuki traveled to Indianapolis to see Yuka perform during the Colts’ Salute to Service game against the Tennessee Titans. And that marked the beginning of a journey of her own.

“I watched the Colts cheerleaders dance on the field. They were shining so beautifully, and that was the moment I decided to become a Colts cheerleader.”

Inspired by Yuka’s journey, Natsuki decided to follow suit – and follow her dream to the U.S.

Her family wasn’t quite as enthusiastic.

“My parents typically have let me do anything I wanted to do, and they always have supported me. But when it came to wanting to become a Colts cheerleader, it was different,” she says. “When I talked about it with my mom, she always cried. I could understand that it gave her a lot of anxiety to imagine her precious daughter going to the U.S. by herself. I thought repeatedly that I should give up my dream for my family, but I couldn’t give it up. I didn’t want to give up my dream because I'll only live once.”

It took her two years – but she finally convinced them.

“They said ‘It’s your biggest dream, so you absolutely have to fulfill it.’ Now they are very supportive and my family will come here to watch the final showcase,” she says. “My mom doesn’t ride airplanes well, but she will try hard for me. I want to make my mom happy by passing the audition. I want to show my family the moment when my dream will come true.”

It’s a dream that’s taken her half way around the world – all for the love of dancing.

“I love cheer, because I think that being able to energize people with my own smile and dance is a wonderful thing. Also, I can’t speak English well, but I found that through dancing, I can communicate with ‎others without speaking words.”

When she arrived in Indiana, she found the same Hoosier hospitality that greeted Yuka.

“I found the Japan-America Society in Indiana. I sent a message there and I found my host family,” she says. “They are very supportive of me and I'm so glad that I made my community in Indiana. I didn't have any family or friends here at first, but now I have a very large family in Indiana.”

And she has family in Japan and Indiana cheering her on.

For two years, Natsuki has been dreaming about becoming a Colts cheerleader.

“I have been watching Colts cheerleader videos on the official website and on YouTube for two years now, so it feels like I jumped into the world of those videos. It feels like a dream receiving Colts dance classes and talking with the nice ladies there. Everything has been so much fun for me.”

Now, she’s ready to make her dream a reality.

“The challenge of my life has already begun.”

To follow Natsuki and all the women in their quest to earn their boots, go to Colts.com/cheerleaders.   

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