From the desk of Rebecca Fortelka, Guest Editor and AXIS Board Member.
Alison Meneley has been a dancer since age nine, and is now an established actress on the stage in productions such as "RENT," "Shrek," and many more. She now has returned to her first love of dance, but in a different format as a dance teacher at Tiffany's Dance Studio. We love to see people who are passionate about sharing their love of dance with children of the world.
AXIS: When did you start dancing and what inspired you to start taking dance?
Allison: I started dance when I was about 9 years old but then quit to concentrate on sports. When I got into high school, I was really inspired to join the dance team but knew I hadn't had proper training in some time. I've always loved performing in any shape or form and this extension of that just made me feel great! So I started back up at a studio and made the team after trying out for two years. I've loved dance ever since :-)
What is your favorite aspect of being a dance teacher?
My favorite part of teaching dance is seeing the excitement in a student's eyes and witnessing how ready they are to learn new things. Knowing I've inspired someone as I was once inspired at that age means the world to me! Other than the silly conversations children tend to have every day from the curiosity of a new environment, my other favorite thing is when I'll ask my kids "you wanna learn more?! You wanna try it again with music?!" And really loudly they'll go, "yeah!"
I know you are also passionate about stage work. What has been your favorite production to be a part of?
Oh man. This is definitely the hardest question! Haha.
Picking a favorite show is like trying to pick your favorite child - you just can't! I have felt deep connections and had moments of gratitude, strength and passion very differently with each one. Some of my most memorable have been "RENT" "Shrek" "Addams Family" "Into the Woods" "Disenchanted" everything with Bay Area Children's Theatre I've done, "Truce" (which was my first play in 5 years) but you know, just to name a few ;-)
For someone just starting out in the arts, what piece of advice would you share with them?
It may sound clichè, but the one advice I have is: never give up. There will be times where you go into something and it seems too hard or you just aren't overcoming a certain audition obstacle, etc. But it will get better if you work hard. Sometimes you need to go backwards in order to move forward and that's ok! And if you keep holding onto things because they're "easy," eventually it's going to get boring.