Natalie Terry Estelle ’01,
founder and executive
director of Figure Skating
in the City, teaches the
sport—and much more—to
low-income Baltimore girls.
t an age when most little girls
were cooing over My Little Pony
and Cabbage Patch Kids,
The Milwaukee-born Estelle first
laid eyes on a skating rink during a
trip to a local shopping mall. Trans-
fixed by the sight of people skimming
across the ice on flashing steel blades,
the 5-year-old asked her mother,
“Can I try that?”
Her simple request launched a
14-year skating career under the guid-
ance of three coaches, one in Milwau-
kee and two in Baltimore following
her family’s move. Estelle began
competing professionally at age eight,
which took her up and down the East
Coast and all the way to the 1996 na-
tional championships, where she won
a medal in the freestyle category.
She gave up competitive skating
during her sophomore year at Towson,
preferring instead to teach skating
at an ice rink in Baltimore’s Mt.
Washington area. After earning her
bachelor’s degree in art, she pursued a
master’s in publication design at
the University of Baltimore, then
established a home-based graphic-design business.
But figure skating beckoned.
“I wanted to exercise, but I don’t
like gyms,” she says with a laugh.
“So I asked myself, ‘Why don’t I get
back into skating?’ I enjoy it, and it
burns a lot of calories.”
This time Estelle returned to the
ice with a mission, approaching figure
skating on a more ambitious—and
“Baltimore didn’t have a program to
teach low-income middle-school girls