Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Alexa.
Dana, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began my journey as a professional dancer as a young child at home in Brooklyn, New York. My mom enrolled me in dance classes when I was only two years old and my love affair with the art form began. As a young child, I used to cry on days I didn’t have dance class and my mom knew I was hooked. Throughout my childhood and teens, I studied dance at a local studio and trained in many styles like ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern and pointe. It remained part of my life in college where, although my major was Behavioral Neuroscience, I became the captain of the dance team and ran it successfully during my time at Lehigh University. After college, I decided I would give myself one year to try to pursue a professional career in dance before going on to grad school. Within just a few months, I booked my first professional job as a NY Knicks city dancer.
After working for a season as a Knicks city dancer, I booked my first tour out of New York with recording Artist Kat Deluna. I worked not only a dancer but also as a choreographer and artistic director on her world tour for her album “Inside out.” I stayed in New York City for another year and continued my training at Broadway Dance Center while working with various up and coming recording artists and working on projects like “The Real Housewives of NJ,” the motion picture “New Year’s Eve,” “Watch What Happens Live” and more. I then decided it was time to continue dance on the west coast and moved out to Los Angeles. I have been living here in LA dancing, teaching and choreographing ever since. I have had the privilege to work for brands like Lexus and Pepsi and artists like 2 Chainz, Natalie LaRose and more. I have managed to build a brand I am proud of and love to share my work with the following I have built on Instagram and youtube. I have had the privilege of traveling to 55 countries and counting to teach and share my passion and love for dance with the world. I have had such wonderful experiences teaching master classes all over the country and the world. I am also very proud to be on staff here in Los Angeles at the world renowned, Millennium Dance Complex.
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 that the pursuit of any big dreams, especially in a field as difficult as entertainment could ever be smooth sailing. Being a dancer in this industry is full of daily rejection and disappointment. We are constantly told “no” and the only way to actually make it and endure in this industry is to become resilient enough to stay the course. I bet anyone in entertainment would tell you that there are far more “losses” than “wins.”
I think that it has definitely been challenging to be a female on this road. I have dealt with a lot of abuse- sexual, emotional and verbal. Though the majority of young dancers are female, the industry, like most industries, is still dominated by men. I have had a lot of trouble being taken seriously, earning equal wages and being treated with the respect that is given to my male peers without hesitation.
I think it is paramount to cultivate integrity. To know that while there are bad seeds and hard times, that none of that is permanent. The riskiness of this dream makes it that much more rewarding when it does come together and work out. You have to decide before you even begin pursuing a career like this, what you will tolerate and what your limits are and then you have to defend those boundaries over and over. No matter the size of the connection or opportunity, absolutely nothing is worth compromising your self worth by tolerating inappropriate behavior. I have walked away from many opportunities that threatened my dignity and at the end that has never cost me success. It has only made success that much sweeter because I know I was able to achieve it while staying true to myself and walking a path I am proud of.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I currently spend my time teaching classes at my home studio, Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles, Ca. I also travel domestically and internationally and have had the pleasure to visit 55 countries and 45 states. I love creating content for my Instagram and youtube and have had awesome opportunities to partner with cool brands and amazing artists. I still work as a dancer and choreographer for artists as well when time permits.
I think what sets me apart is my heart and genuine love and care for every single student that enters my classroom and every dancer that crosses my path. I want to do my part to help every artist ascend to their highest self and to help the entire dance community move forward, both locally and globally. Dancers are such powerful humans, with the ability to move people and to communicate across any language barrier. Dance brings hope to people all over the world and I have had the privilege of connecting with so many young and aspiring dancers and choreographers who are using dance as an outlet. I am so moved and humbled by all of the opportunities dance has given me and I genuinely want to see everyone win.
What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
The most important piece of advice I would give to a young woman is to know your worth. Know that you are powerful and valuable and don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you are not. Work hard, show up early, cultivate integrity and a strong work ethic, be kind and respectful, strive for a level of excellence even on small tasks; and then don’t accept any less than you bring to the table. We can do anything a man can do and unless we all work together to demand that equality in wages and respect, we will continue to do the same amount of work for half the pay and presence. The tides can turn if we all swim together.
- Website: www.DanaAlexa.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @DanaAlexa_
- Facebook: @DanaAlexaDance1
- Twitter: @DanaAlexaNY