Alex teaches Mobility & Recovery for Dancers @ UMA 2100 Chestnut location on Mondays at 6pm. This is a “relaxed-fit” class that helps students prep and recover for the various classes UMA has to offer. This class will cover joint mobility, stretching, as well as self-care practices such as foam rolling and bodywork. Give your body the TLC it deserves!
You can also catch Alex for Dance Acrobatics and Floorwork classes at UMA 812 Chestnut location! On Mondays his beginner level class runs from 8-9pm. His all levels classes are Thursdays 7:30-8:30 and Saturdays 2-3:30pm (except for this Saturday because 812 is closed for construction!) This class is a compelling concoction of scaleable acrobatics, silky floorwork, and sketching improvisation that gets you comfortable with leaving your feet, finding confidence in your hands, and creating seamless transitions in and out of the floor. Namely, front and back rolls, intermediate cartwheel variations and walkovers, transitions in and out of the floor, and floorwork grooves. Alex supports a welcoming and playful environment to provide you with building a broad base of sustainable pathways of moving through space with power, flow, and creative patterns to supplement your movement practices.
Learn more about Alex & his classes!
-What impact do you hope to make on the uma community through your various classes?
I have a lot of high hopes, but if I could boil it down to a few: my aim is to provide students with a greater sense of embodiment and encouragement. Whether in the mobility & recovery class or in the dance acrobatics classes, a goal is to center folks into their bodies, both physically and mentally.
The mobility class gives students the chance to get to know their bodies better through bodywork and stretching exercises. The hope is that this awareness and nurturing encourages students to appreciate their bodies and take care of themselves in and out of classes.
The dance acrobatic classes are a fertile ground to explore the various aspects of physicality such as power, pliability, and suave while balancing the mental gymnastics of courage, commitment, and compassion. Physically, acrobatic moves don’t happen overnight and often take persistence and patience. The mental aspect is much more prevalent in this class since the risk is a bit higher when you are trying to make yourself fly for a moment. The hope is that these aspects of building physical complexity and mental confidence encourage students to play with the emotions of fear and the unknown in a safe space while giving themselves and others the compassion needed when trying new things.
-Most of our classes are centered around street and social dances or popular stylings/ approaches. How does what you offer relate to this or divert from this?
The Mobility class diverts quite a bit from any specific physical street or social dance. There are aspects that are taken from more Eastern practices such as Yoga and Tai Chi/Qi Gong. The environment in class is closer to a “social” environment. We gather in a circle, allow dialogue, and provide exercises that are universal to all who join.
The Dance Acrobatics, at its core, has its roots in the Afro-Brazilian martial art called Capoeira. My teachers have included Mr. Ron Wood and Tom Weksler who have influenced this class. In class, we do not apply the marital aspect of the Capoeira art. Rather we focus on the aspect known as Floreios. These “curving” or flowing acrobatic moves differ from the linear type acrobatic moves you might see in gymnastics. .
Where the diversion really takes place in Dance Acrobatics is our use of floorwork. The floorwork movements come from modern and contemporary dance practices. Traditional floreios play with hands and feet and avoid going into the ground. A major aspect of the Dance Acrobatics and Floowork class is to explore the many layers of movement practices of getting into and out of the floor while incorporating acrobatic moves seamlessly throughout.
-What made you fall in love with dance acro/floorwork?
Great question. I often find that most of why I love it is ineffable. It is felt more than described. What I would say is that I fell in love with the dynamics and virtuosic aspects of dance acro/floorwork. The ability to surf the momentum that one generates. It is the ability to conjure up explosive, dynamic, impulses and balance that with qualities of calm, ease, and seamlessness. The balance of these forces in a practice allows for moments that look like an exclamation point “!” but immediately follow with a “…” Thus, creating a movement practice that contains qualities of continuity, impermanence, and potentiality out of which more spontaneity can arise. Plus it just looks cool!!!
-What keeps you interested and invested in a dance acro practice?
What keeps me interested is how dance acrobatics moves beyond the momentary rush of getting a move or posting something for the Gram (not that I don’t love those things). It is a total embodiment practice, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is a form of moving meditation. Acrobatics forces you to be in the present moment. You have no choice but to commit if you want to accomplish the move you are working with. Along with that comes the waves of fear, doubt, laziness, hesitation etc. However, it is a question unto myself whether I can allow those thoughts and emotions to occur naturally but not get attached to them. To simply be, and allow my dance to take me beyond the world of words and to just “tune in” while “tuning out” all the unnecessary noise. In that space, I feel my creativity, aliveness, and freedom can flourish. That feeling, that flow state, keeps me coming back.
You can sign up for Mobility & Recovery with Alex @ 2100 Chestnut through the 2100 schedule page here, using a drop in, membership, intro month, or class card pack!
You can sign up for Dance Acrobatics & Floorwork with Alex @ 812 Chestnut through the 812 schedule page here, using a drop in, membership, intro month, or class card pack!