June 25, 1917 - December 7, 2007
Alexandria, Louisiana - Dallas, Texas
Matriarch to Dance in Dallas, Co-founder of the Dance Council, Beloved Educator,
Scholarship Benefactor, Dance Council Board Member Emerita
Family requests that Memorials be made to
Dance Council to establish the
Natalie Skelton Tutu Marvelous Memorial Scholarship
3630 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75219
Family, friends, colleagues, former students and admirers gathered at Knights of
Columbus Hall in Dallas on January 13, 2008 to celebrate the life and legacy of
Natalie Neal Skelton.
Doug Voet (Director of Operations and Production at Dallas Summer Musicals) served as master
of Ceremonies and Don Smith, accompanied by Ray Shaw on piano, opened
the program with the lyrics of Johnny Mercer:
“You’re just too marvelous
Too marvelous for words
Like glorious, glamorous
And that old standby amorous!
It’s all too wonderful
I’ll never find the words
That say enough, tell enough,
I mean, they just aren’t swell enough.”
Christopher Koehl followed with a dance performance dedicated to her.
Chris was the 2007 recipient of Dance Council’s Natalie Skelton Scholarship to attend
Glenda Brown Choreography Conference.
Jerry Bywaters Cochran, a dear friend of Natalie's, recalled their many years together and daughter Tish Rhoads spoke of her mother as dance teacher, mentor and best friend. Friends and family members added touching and amusing stories about her generosity, hair color, dedication to dance, energy and vitality.
The hall was festively adorned with posters of Natalie, one of her tutus and a display board of photographs encompassing the 1920's through 2007.
Son-in-law Ron Rhoads confided her death had left: "a hole in his heart".
The afternoon culminated in a tip of the Top Hat to a kind and gracious lady —
There will never be another like her.
Natalie Neal Skelton was born on June 25, 1917 in Alexandria, Louisiana and died in
Dallas, Texas on December 7, 2007.
Formerly known as the Dallas Dance Council, Natalie served on the Dance Council Board of Directors in many capacities from president to chair of the Legacy Awards Committee
and volunteered for every dance activity and function. Natalie worked on the Scholarship Review Committee, National Tap Dance Celebration Planning Committee, and funded the Natalie Skelton Scholarship which is a full tuition scholarship with room and board to the
Glenda Brown Choreography Project in Kansas City. She was honored with the
Mary Bywaters Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. Her many accomplishments include:
- Dance Council Board Member Emerita
- Co-Founder of the Dance Council in 1973
- Dallas Civic Ballet Society
- Texas Association of Teachers of Dancing
- Southwest Region of Regional Dance America
- Dance Council Mary McLarry Lifetime Achievement Award
- Regional Dance America Historian Emerita
Natalie's immediate family includes Tish and Ron Rhoads, daughter and son-in-law, granddaughter Vanessa and husband Mike Bamback, great-granddaughter Taylor Farmer and great-grandson Jake Douglas Bamback. Her survivors also include extended family and truly
a world of friends. She is pre-deceased by her husband Doug Skelton, who died in 1976.
Young Natalie (left) at 17
with a friend
Natalie at the Music Hall,
Natalie Skelton and Nathalie
Krassovska who was Prima
Ballerina with the Ballet Russe
were close friends, colleagues,
and shopping buddies. People
referred to them as "the two
Natalies". They would get
together one or twice every
month to do their favorite
activities - go to lunch and
Doug and Natalie in
The Nutcracker Act One with
Dallas Civic Ballet
Natalie circa 1976