Provider Spotlight: Alex Allan
Q: What is your current role in the field (i.e. teacher, studio owner, etc.), and in what city are you based?
I both teach and perform at the moment. Sometimes one more than the other but I definitely like to keep a balance between the two. I’m not based anywhere right now, I’ve been touring for a year now teaching rope workshops and taking the odd performance contract when it comes up.
Q: When did you start training in the aerial arts?
I started training Aerial Arts in 2006 when I was at university in Australia. In 2009 I started in the Professional Aerial Program at the San Francisco Circus Center which is when I started training Rope.
Q: What inspired or motivated you to start aerial training?
When I was getting a tour of the theatre building I was to spend the next 3 years in at university I saw someone up on the silks, that was really exciting to me and immediately wanted to do that. Also around the same time my friend took me to see ‘Quidam’ for my 18th birthday and my first Cirque du Soleil’s show. I think that sealed the deal. When I was at uni I dabbled in a little bit of everything – poi, tumbling, acro, juggling and silks. I started a little circus club and I guess that’s actually when I started teaching. But to get back to the question I think I was motivated and inspired by Aerials because I felt really strong and competent when I was doing it. It seemed so unique and exotic!
Q: What keeps you going today?
Hmmmmmm. Creating new work. Challenging myself by the work that I make. With my background in theatre and my love for dance I’m really interested in where these 3 disciplines meet. I want to keep creating the work that pushes and blurs those boundaries.
I’m really interested in collaboration at the moment. Aerials can be a lonely business if you’re a solo artist. I’ve been cherishing collaborations with live musicians, dance choreographers and other artists. At the moment I’m less satisfied with telling my story onstage and am seeking ways to tell stories shared by many.
Q: What are your primary interests as an instructor/teacher trainer?
I’m a huge geek for technique. As a structural integration practitioner I’m really interested in body mechanics, working efficiently and easily in our bodies to achieve the same result that we sometimes have to strive for. To me we can find that ease when we relax, release and find the path of least resistance. That’s what I love exploring in my own training and sharing with my students or teacher trainees.
Q: How has your teaching evolved from when you first began?
I feel like my teaching is an extension of my practice. I love to teach whatever it is I’m exploring in my own work. I find that my practice is able to go deeper as I go through the process of articulating that and sharing it with others. So I guess my teaching has evolved as my own practice as a performer and an artist has evolved.
In a more literal way I’ve become more interested in teaching sequences and choreography and movement and less interested in just teaching isolated skills, although I do love that too. Also I’ve become more interested in theory and curriculum building as the years have gone on which is why I’m so excited to share my teacher training for the first time this year!
Q: If you could choose just one thing, what would you like for people to know about teaching in the aerial arts?
It’s hard work. I think it’s hard work if you want to be a good teacher because you have to continually push your boundaries and keep creating in order to stay fresh and inspired. But that’s like anything I guess.
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