Yep, Alexandria has a background in pageants. But the buck doesn’t stop there. The mega watt talent is also a professional dancer and model who has been featured as a Washington Wizard dancer and now in the UniverSoul Circus. Alexandria is blazing a career path through her dedication to her craft and faith in her talents. This week, 5 Questions steals her time between performances to find out just exactly how she landed center stage.

 1) What is your preparation routine for performances?

I always make sure that I can get a good ballet class in before the show. When my body is warmed up, the more confident I feel to execute my choreography. I’m able to dance freely and really perform instead of worrying that I might pull something. Right now, I’m performing with the UniverSoul Circus. I normally cannot get to a ballet class before a show so I give myself a class backstage.

Making sure I have enough time for hair and make is also important so that I can calmly get dressed, walk to the stage, and get into my zone instead of stressing out about my entrance coming up and not being ready.

 
2)What has been your favorite memory as a professional dancer?

 I have two  favorite memories. The first is dancing for the Washington Wizards in D.C. This was exciting because the job didn’t just consist of dancing. By receiving the opportunity to  travel with the team to Mexico, China, and The British Virgin Islands. I was an ambassador in D.C.  as well as the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the community service we participated in and all of the Wizard fans I got to meet!  My favorite community service event was during the holidays when the players and my dance team would travel around the district , enter people’s homes, and give children gifts. It was very touching to see how much of a difference we made in a child’s Christmas.

The second is when I danced for Neglia Ballet in Buffalo, N.Y.  I had the opportunity to learn and dance Serenade by Balanchine and performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic!  The stage was humongous and the music was very moving! I almost cried on stage when the curtains opened up. It was an amazing experience!

 3) What sparked your interest in dancing and modeling, and how did you break into the industries?

My mother influenced my interest in the entertainment industry. It started with a ballet class when I was three. I actually never even stayed in the class. I was the “problem child” and would go in and out of the classroom to talk to my mom, but would always do the moves at home. I finally did everything in class on the last day and the teacher told my mother to make sure I stayed in ballet! The rest is history!

As a child I wanted to be in commercials, so my mother took snap shots and sent them to an agency. I mostly modeled for text books as a kid.

In college I modeled for the Howard University bookstore catalog and while dancing for the Washington Wizards, we published a swimsuit calendar every year.



4) What was the best piece of advice someone gave you, and what advice do you have for any girls getting into pageantry, dance, or modeling professionally?

It’s really important to know what you what and to work at it! As a teenager, I danced 30+ hours a week. One definitely cannot get to a professional level in anything without being dedicated.

In order to make it you have to hustle, vigorously look for jobs and auditions, and talk to people. Hard work surpasses talent if talent isn’t working hard.

Believing in yourself is also key! At auditions, you are being judged every minute. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others. Instead of comparing, take things you like about other girls in the audition and use them to enhance your performance.

 The last piece of advice is knowing that there will be more no’s than yes’s. Having thick skin is key in order to keep going until you get the perfect yes.

4) What has surprised you most about your career?


Even though I knew the dance industry was a hard industry to break into, I was surprised at the level of competition there is in NYC. Everyone is at the same level and everyone needs a job! I see the same people at every audition.  You sometimes have to audition for the same show several times before getting a call.

5) What HAS to be in your dance bag?

A tennis ball!  My right hamstring is pretty tight and I roll on the ball to loosen it up.

Bonus! 
What I love about dance is that it can be done at so many levels. As is all art forms, you have to decide at which level you would like to be performing. 

Quick Facts!

Name :
Alexandria Franklin


Hometown: 

Chicago, IL

Education: 

BA (Howard University)
Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Intensive
Alvin Ailey Fellowship Program
American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive
Bryant Ballet Chicago – Homer Bryant 

Professional Work:
UniverSoul Circus (current)
Ballets with a Twist
Neglia Ballet
Brooklyn Ballet
Urban Ballet Theatre
Washington National Opera
Washington Wizards
Dissonance Dance Theatre

Imani Josey

Imani is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. After graduating Howard University in Washington, DC, Imani received her Masters from Northwestern University. Sometime during all of that studying, she danced professionally for the Chicago Bulls as a (Luvabulls) cheerleader, and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA. Read her short story “North” in the forthcoming Hidden Youth anthology, out November 2016 by Crossed Genres.

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