My name is Mackenzie, and I am 12 years old. I am in Denver and I dance at Denver Academy of Ballet.


Photographer: @datwphotography

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

I started dance at age 3, and I was at a competitive studio until I was 10. I learned at around 9 that I truly was happy when I danced ballet and knew I wanted to be at a full ballet studio! I made the switch to my new studio after I suffered a bad accident and couldn’t dance hardcore for a while but could practice ballet- and I haven’t looked back! Ballet is my passion, and I am so very lucky to get to dance every day!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?

I don’t think it has been easy. I have had to work very hard at my turnout and persevere through my facial fractures to get to where I am today! It takes a lot of daily practice and hard work to be the dancer I want to be!

Photographer: @bellajeanphotography

What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?

I would say the hardest thing was having my face fractured in an accident at school and then having to become comfortable dancing again in an environment with lots of people around me knowing any little hit to my face could be devastating again. Once I got over that hurdle, I have been more confident in everything I do!

Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?

Sometimes I’ve had issues with my peers because I am so focused on dance that they take it the wrong way. Dance comes first and then socializing! It is important to always support your peers no matter what and understand that some people have different aspirations in their dance careers!

Photographer: @kayleekintzphotography

How do you conquer negative talk?

I always try to walk away if it is directed to me, and I have had to build up tough skin. If I hear negative talk about anyone I know, I always try to put a stop to it. Ballet is very competitive, and we really need to try to support one another all the time! You never know who will end up dancing next to you one day!

What is your favorite quote?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” - Walt Disney

Photographer: @datwphotography

So, what’s next? Any big plans?

I am preparing for Nutcracker, in which I am the Spanish Soloist and Snow and Flowers, which I am so excited about! After that, I have @yagp and @universalballetcompetition to look forward to! My goals are to make it to finals again, this time as a Junior and to have fun! Next summer, I would love to attend @sab_nyc again- it is my dream school!

Oct 16, 2021

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