I recently sat down for a chat with renowned dancer- Australia's Alexandra Charles, to talk about life in the dance world. Here's what she had to say:
Please introduce yourself to the readers:
My name is Alexandra Charles and I am a professional dancer in Sydney Australia, on the exciting verge of breaking into the American performing arts industry.
How did you get into dancing and what age were you?
I started dancing at age 4 and from the moment I could remember all I wanted to be was a dancer. My grandmother was a dancer on broadway for many many years and I always looked up to her and wanted to follow in her fabulous foot steps.
What was the dance scene like in Australia?
The dance scene in Australia is growing all the time which is great and the last few years have seen it open up more to the general pubic thanks to some certain TV shows, which has encouraged more work for everyone as the demand is growing.
What type of training have you done?
I grew up with my focus on ballet, but as I got to my teen years I started shifting more towards jazz, contemporary and musical theatre. I kept my training up in ballet and tap as well throughout the years and at age 16-17 completed my full time performing arts degree at Brent Street Studios, where we spent every day training in all styles and also in acting and singing. Since then, I have kept up my training going to professional classes at a few major Sydney dance studios and have also broadened some of my skills by venturing into aerial classes, pole classes and ballroom dancing lessons.
Who were some of your inspirations growing up?
My grandmother was one of my biggest inspirations. I used to look through her scrapbooks nearly every week and loved watching the tiny bit of footage she has managed to keep from her time on stage. I also would watch all the old musicals with my mother, 'Gypsy' being my all time favorite. In recent years Dita Von Teese has been a big inspiration, she is one of a kind and such an incredible performer.
What brings you to the US?
The US has been a dream for most of my life, the scale of shows, performers and opportunities is like no other in the world for a dancer. The many times I have visited the states previously and seen the calibre of shows, I am filled with awe and excitement of the possibilities.
What would be your ultimate gig?
At the moment I have a couple of ultimate gigs that I am striving for. The first would be to be the lead dancer in 'Le Réve- The Dream' at The Wynn Las Vegas, one of my favorite shows I've ever seen. The second would be to get a solo act in 'Zumanity' by Cirque Du Soleil, again another one of my favorite shows.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
A highlight was definitely a few years ago when I got the opportunity to perform with Gloria Gaynor for a massive corporate event in Hong Kong and China, she is an icon of her time and I think every girl and woman has sang along to her songs even now. I also loved that I was one of Sacha Baron Cohen's virgin guards for his media stunts all over Sydney for his movie The Dictator, which saw me next to him in every newspaper and on TV all over Australia. Performing in the weekly show 'Crystal Boudoir' in Sydney is another one for me- it is a great show and I have loved being a part of it for the last year and a half performing alongside and with some of the best choreographers and performers in Sydney.
What would be your advice to aspiring dancers?
Always keep pushing and striving for your dream, there will be knocks and let downs but always get straight back up and move forward with what you love. Be open to as much as you can, you never know what could further inspire you or where you might find the next part of your dream.