BTCF – For those who don’t know or who have never experienced your extraordinary and one of a kind dance piece “7 CHAIRS”, can you share what it is?
ALEX – 7 Chairs was created 8 years ago when I was in recovery (still am) from my multiple Eating Disorders. The healing process was helping me so much in realizing that it was ok to share my feelings, thoughts, celebrations and hardships because I was not alone. I was not the only one. Others could relate! This was the cornerstone to healing for me (& still is). I wondered what it would be like to use the structure of a “group sharing & healing circle” with a group of dancers, using our own unique movement to narrate whatever it was we wanted to offer or share about ourselves/our life at present, in real time. Every rendition, process, performance of this movement piece is completely different from the prior time it was performed but its structure remains the same. As it turns out, although it is much different, this process continues feels very healing, cathartic, inspiring and empowering too!
BTCF – We’ve seen “7 CHAIRS” performed several times now, each time different, and each time there is not a dry eye in the house, it moves people to places that redefines their inner connection on multitude of levels no matter what one is going through. The piece is so rich and full of personal story as the dancers allow us to feel every movement and core of their being that it has such a tremendous and lasting affect as well as impact on people in such a beautiful way. This internal process of yours radiates in all you do as a person, creator, dancer, and teacher.
ALEX – When we all own our parts of the space; we begin connecting into ourselves and with one another. By acknowledging the power of others’ presence, we begin seeing and listening to one another and we, individually are more and more willing to be seen and heard. It’s all just the “Circle of life” – we are having conversations without words. We hold space for our, and each other’s journeys. For me, connection is a vibe or energy that is created in that time. I perceive it often to feel “risky and safe” all at once; and often it feels vulnerable & empowering. It will most certainly change moment to moment, class to class, performance to performance. We are all so different and the ways in which each one of us connect will look and feel different. After that, it happens just as it should for that time.
BTCF – What inspires you?
ALEX – Stories. Connection. Sharing information. Receiving information. Living my life in a creative “research lab”. Learning. Meeting new people and artists of all ages. Being inspired by these folks. Growing. Listening to, and telling stories through movement & the all the possibilities that creativity and the arts offer.
BTCF – Being a deep thinker and emotionally perceptive, as well as knowing the importance what “connection” means to you, what is the process you go through when you teach?
ALEX – As prepared as I am prior to classes, I also believe in being present and sensing the energy & feeling(s) in the room as best I can before and throughout and after the session. I often check in with the students prior to the start of class. And always throughout and at the end. This helps me a great deal in guiding the way I facilitate that session. I want to create and hold a space where in the students feel that their energy and emotion is cyclical (as it is) and in turn, their presence & humanity will empower the room. This is the bedrock for connection.
BTCF – How do you view an empty room – the space you teach in before it fills up with people?
ALEX – I see possibility. The beginning of a new experience. The space is often quiet. I see a sacred communal meeting ground. I see a research lab. A space to fill with journeys, with information, with mind, body, soul. Sometimes I feel anxiety. I always feel nervous. And excited.
BTCF – You have had great success as a dancer, teacher, choreographer. What does success mean to you and how would you explain it to young minds who look up to you?
ALEX – Success is simply showing up. Being vulnerable. Standing in my light, with honesty and integrity. Being of service to others. Being a part of the world. And not using my Eating Disorder behaviors or other addictions to get through, but instead leaning into life. Success is a one-day-at-a-time thing for me.
BTCF – You are very open about your eating disorder. Why is that important to you and what are your aspirations in sharing more with others and what message would you bring to them?
ALEX – Well there are two main reasons. One is because the minute I am hiding it is most likely going to be the minute I get active in it all over again. I don’t want to go there again. 20+ years was enough. Now I don’t parade around with it on my shirt or anything, but I do openly talk about it and I remain in lifetime recovery practices every week.
The other reason is because it’s a silent disease and I want to use my experience to lend a voice to this epidemic and be there for those in its clutches. This illness comes in multiple forms and isn’t spoken about much, and if it is, it’s identified in its extremes only. Eating disorders don’t always have a look to them. And it is not just about vanity. These two myths keep society in the dark about all of the nuances and varieties of this Mental Illness and Addiction. And the fact is, the disease is even more a mental illness than a vanity feat. It’s cunning, baffling, and powerful, it tells you “Keep quiet. Don’t tell anyone about this. You have to do life this way now, and on one will understand. You are the exception to the rule, so you must hide it.” The truth is there are people out there that do get it, have lived it and Thank God, have gotten out of its dark deathly clutch. Hopefully an antidote will be voices like mine and the light that is possibility and recovery.
BTCF – Who is the one person who gets Alex Little and why?
ALEX – My sister, Devon because she has grown up with me- and probably knows me better than I know myself! We are close, only 2 years apart, and we have been through a lot together to say the least. <3
BTCF – 7 Chairs is presently being created as an “experience”, one that participants will be able to learn and experience the process of it all and be able to take workshops from you. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
ALEX – Yes, from my personal experience that I found communal gatherings often activate or assist others in individual healing, the 7 Chairs Experience is a powerful, freeing, revealing creative process, which is both personal and communal. It will highlight through the art and movement, that there is healing in the service of both sharing and receiving which results in the realization that we are not alone.
Follow Alex on Instagram and Twitter @alex_little. Facebook – Alex Little
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