Apr 14, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Alexander MacFarlan, a First Soloist with Ballet West and a lover of learning who is proactively finding ways to help dance professionals that are seeking a career change. MacFarlan, who joined Ballet West in 2007, has enjoyed a number of exciting roles within the company. MacFarlan also holds a bachelor’s degree in Consumer Studies from the University of Utah and is passionate about helping fellow dancers gracefully exit the dance industry by promoting higher education.
On the podcast, Alexander covers a wide array of topics, including his first forays into the world of dance, why he has stayed at one company for so long, and when he knew that dance was what he wanted to spend his life doing. MacFarlan also shares some incredible advice around finding the right company and argues that seeking out a good leader — a leader that you admire — is as important as any other factor when trying to find the right company fit.
“[When searching out a dance company,] look for a leader who possesses the qualities that you aspire to have in yourself… It will not only define who you are but also where you want to go."
“If you can’t live without dance — if your desire is to be on-stage and performing professionally — then go in that direction and really immerse yourself into what’s required for that."
“It matters to me to have a home base. I’m very glad that I’ve been with one company for so long."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
2:52: Alexander discusses the origins of his interest in ballet and the moment where he knew for certain that he wanted to spend his life dancing.
6:13: Alexander briefly explains how he met his wife, who is also currently a dancer at Ballet West.
6:59: MacFarlan looks back at the moment where he decided to pursue a career in dance — as opposed to pursuing a college degree — and how he ultimately landed at Ballet West.
10:45: Alexander explains why he decided to stay at one company for an extended period of time, in an industry where that type of decision is rare.
12:15: MacFarlan describes one of his first and greatest role models in his life — a person that was, simultaneously, very demanding and very rewarding.
15:03: MacFarlan shares some invaluable and nontraditional advice around what to consider when seeking out a dance company.
18:17: Alexander retells a story of a mishap that occurred during a performance, where he and his dance partner ended up in a center-stage “dog pile.”
21:00: Alexander discusses his “dream roles” and shares his favorite global dance venues.
24:26: MacFarlan — a global traveler — gives some tips for how to best fare when traveling internationally for dance performances.
25:29: Alexander describes how he managed to pick up a college degree while dancing full-time and why dancer education has turned into one of his passions.
Bullet List of Resources –