The Workout: Elizabeth Yilmaz

The freelance dancer squeezes fitness into unexpected places.
Published in the June/July 2013 issue.

Photo by Nathan Sayers for Pointe

Having danced everywhere from Ballet Hispanico to the Metropolitan Opera to an Angelina Ballerina: The Musical tour, New York City–based freelancer Elizabeth Yilmaz has to keep her body ready for any challenges thrown her way.

Favorite Workout: Kayaking on the Hudson. “It’s a great upper-body strengthener. I don’t even realize the workout I’m getting until afterward when it’s like, Oh, my arms!”

Working Through Downtime: “My roommate’s also a dancer, so whenever we watch TV, we roll out our ankles with the Thera-Band or do crunches on the exercise ball. Our foam roller is my calves’ and quads’ best friend.”

Biggest Challenge: Flexibility. “I’ve found the best time to stretch is during the 15 minutes after class: You’re warm, limber and aligned, so you can really feel your lines and work your extension.”

Non-Ballet Classes: “I take everything: hip hop, tap, jazz in high heels—I don’t want any style to hold me back at auditions. I really like company rep classes, especially the one Parsons Dance gives.”

On Tour: “If a hotel has a pool, I’ll stand with the water at chest height and do a modified barre. The water gives you nice resistance.”

Mental Reset:
“New York is a loud city. When I’m running from class to rehearsal to auditions, yoga gives me time to stop, let things settle and meditate on what I want my day to be.”