Perspective: Interview with Master Ballet Academy Student, Elizabeth Bortz

Cover Photo: Elizabeth Bortz by Rhi Lee Photography 

Where are you from? I was born in Vail, CO but raised on the island of Maui.
Where do you currently dance and/or train? Master Ballet Academy
Favorite shade of Pointe Paint: I use Macadamia all the time for photo shoots, but I love the fun colors, too! Aqua is definitely my favorite! 

How and when did you get your start in dance?

My mom is a dance teacher and was teaching and dancing throughout her pregnancy with me. I have literally grown up in the studio. I stopped dancing for a season to try other things, but I missed it so much! I only lasted a few weeks without ballet in my life! 

Who has been the most influential person in your dance career?
What is something you have learned from them?
I would have to say my idol, Maria Khoreva. I do her YouTube videos almost every day. She has taught me that ballet isn’t just dance; it’s a lifestyle! 

Elizabeth Bortz by Rhi Lee Photography
Elizabeth Bortz by Rhi Lee Photography 

I know that you are a Nikolay and Dance Supplies Influencer. Talk to us a little bit about what that’s like for you and how you became involved with it!
I have been ordering from Dance Supplies since I lived on Maui. It’s very difficult to get pointe shoes on the island, and Dance Supplies was always so fast with shipping and never charged extra because of where I lived. They always have what I need in stock and have taken great care of me! 

I became their ambassador a year and a half ago and loved the program! When they announced that they were looking for a Nikolay Market influencer, I was so excited and applied right away! I love my Nikolay pointe shoes and the extra goodies I get for being an influencer! It’s easy representing a store and brand that I LOVE so much! 💜

What does a typical day in the life of Elizabeth look like?
I wake up, eat breakfast, and then do school through Liberty University Online Academy (LUOA) until about 11:00 am. My mom and I normally go to the gym after I am done with school and do a Progressive Ballet Technique class.

After that, I come home, have lunch, and get ready for pre-professional class at Master Ballet Academy. I normally try to get to the studio an hour early so that I am nice and warmed up before class.

I get to the studio by 1:00 pm for pre-pro that starts at 2:00 pm. After pre-pro, we have regular classes that normally get out between 8:00 - 9:00 pm, depending on the day. Then I go home, eat dinner, take a shower or bath (depending on how sore I am), and go to sleep.

Where do you ultimately hope to take your career as a dancer?
I’m still working on this one. I love the Wozniaks and would love to dance for the Phoenix Ballet. It has also been a lifelong dream to dance with ABT. 

Do you have any performance goals, dream companies, or other dance aspirations?
My main goal or aspiration is to get into a company and have a professional career dancing. I also want to get a doctorate in psychology so I can be a therapist for dancers.

Outside of ballet, are there any other styles of dance you enjoy?
I enjoy contemporary, ballroom, hip-hop, and jazz. 

Elizabeth Bortz by Rhi Lee Photography
Elizabeth Bortz by Rhi Lee Photography 

What are some of your other interests and hobbies besides dancing?

I love to paddle board and go to the lake. I love anything that includes water! 

What is something that not many people know about you?
The reason my nickname is “Pooh Bear” is because when I was a baby, I had a Winnie the Pooh towel that my parents would wrap me up in after a bath. They started calling me “Pooh Bear” and it became my forever nickname! More people call me “Pooh Bear” than my real name!

What is one thing you always keep in your dance bag?

I always keep my “emergency kit” in my dance bag. It has everything in it like scissors, toe tape, an extra leotard and pair of tights, makeup, Bandaids, shorts, and any other needs I might have! 

What has been your favorite on-stage memory or performance you’ll never forget?
My favorite on stage memory was dancing “White Rose” in Phoenix Ballet’s Nutcracker with my best friend, Sawyer. 

What’s a step or combination in class that you always look forward to doing? What do you feel most proud of in your dancing?

I love adagio and fondus. I am proud of how far I have come and my growth in my ballet technique. 

What’s something you’re actively working to improve upon in your dancing?
I am always working on height in my extensions and working on my turnout! 


Elizabeth Bortz by Rhi Lee Photography
Elizabeth Bortz by Rhi Lee Photography 

What is a challenge you've faced as a dancer and how did/do you work to overcome it? A challenge I’ve faced is when people try to pull you back or tear you down. I work to overcome it by ignoring the hurtful things they say and surrounding myself with people who are kind and uplifting. 

Do you have any advice for other aspiring dancers?
Make sure you have a healthy mindset. Always have positive thoughts concerning yourself, and avoid negativity. 

How do you #FeelGoodDanceBetter?
I love my Progressive Ballet Technique workouts, and I love Cryotherapy at Restore! I also take Epsom salt baths when my muscles are overly sore or fatigued

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