Dorrance Dance's Elizabeth Burke on Pre-Show Rituals and Celeb Doppelgängers
Photo by Matthew Murphy, courtesy Dorrance Dance
Dorrance Dance's Elizabeth Burke's dynamic technique and intricate musicality have made her a tap-scene standout. A Chapel Hill, NC, native, she trained with the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble, led by her mentor, Gene Medler. She's an alumna of The School at Jacob's Pillow and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with bachelor's degrees in political science and communication arts. Burke appeared on a Dance Spirit cover in 2010, and has danced with Dorrance Dance since its formation in 2011. Catch her performing at the company's New York City Center run tonight through Saturday, and read on for The Dirt!
Do you have any pre-performance habits?
I like to get my hair/makeup done on the earlier side (not at the last minute).
Ideally, I incorporate a handful of things into my pre-show warm-up:
—tap dancing! (improvising, rudiments)
—physical therapy/Pilates-based strengthening and stabilization (I've had some injuries!)
—If I've activated my core, hips, legs, and broken a sweat, I feel better!
Who are you most proud of?
My mama and my niece
What's your best advice for young dancers?
—treat everyone with kindness and respect
—respect your elders
—keep yourself open to learning and exploring your entire life
Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?
Plenty of them! Fairly recently (January 2018), Byron Tittle and I collided midair in an Association of Performing Arts Professionals showcase. I sprained my left wrist and was in a brace on tour. Let it be known that it was my fault, not Byron's! I love you, Byron Tittle.
Who would play you in a movie?
People tell me I look like Elizabeth Olsen? But that's a purely aesthetic choice based on physical appearance…
Do you have any nicknames?
Many! E, e burke, lady burke, lady burkowitz, e burkowitz, e girl, burkey, churp, churl, churple, churps, churper, agent oo flappy, burke, marion cotillard, burkowit…
What's one food you can't live without?
An iced chai tea latte with either almond, oat, soy, or nondairy milk (skim in a pinch), with light ice…in the biggest size they've got. Ventiiiiii
Who can always make you laugh?
Gene Medler, the founder and artistic director of North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble!
Who's your dance role model?
Gene Medler. "Dance to express, not to impress." Gene is hands down one of the greatest humans and dancers I'll ever know.
What's your go-to stress reliever?
MUSIC. Also a big believer in the restorative power of sleep!
Where do you feel happiest?
Surrounded by people I love most, sharing and making music/art/dance.