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Senior Spotlight - Kylie Van Elzen

My name is Kylie Van Elzen and this season I will be completing my sixth and final year with Makaroff Youth Ballet. I have been dancing since I was three years old and have been at Makaroff School of Ballet for eleven years.

I remember when I knew classical ballet would become an influential part of my life. At six years old, I stared in awe as a flurry of ballerinas performed Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Snowflakes. With their graceful movements boldly taking up space, their confidence was palpable. With their ability to remain in tune with their fellow dancers, they intricately moved amongst one another and across the stage, performing in unison. I was enchanted by and wanted to emulate them, so I decided to join Makaroff School of Ballet. However, I quickly learned that being a ballerina was not simply about knowing the vocabulary and memorizing combinations; instead, being a ballerina meant I had to develop a sharp mental focus, skillful time management, and an honest sense of accountability to myself, my fellow dancers, and my community.

One of my favorite things about being a company member at Makaroff Youth Ballet is the bonds I’ve made with the other dancers. With multiple classes during the week and full rehearsal days on the weekend, there is a special connection made with each company member through the time spent together and the shared experiences. From the conversations before and after classes to the moments shared backstage, I’ve always thought of the company as my second family. I will cherish so many little moments: helping the younger girls with their makeup, giving quick hugs and cheek kisses to wish each dancer luck before the performance, and signaling thumbs up in the wings to the dancers on the other side of the stage.

I want to thank Ms. Makaroff for sharing her knowledge and passion for the art of classical ballet with me and guiding me through my eleven years at Makaroff. I will use the lessons I’ve learned in my future career goals at Saint Louis University where I plan to obtain a Doctorate in Physical Therapy with a minor in Dance in hopes of specializing in physical therapy for dancers.

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