We are very excited for you to read all about this week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY: Alison Faulk! Alison is an inspiration for so many dancers in the industry! Not only is she unbelievably talented and one of the most versatile performers out there, but she also has a heart of gold. Alison’s positive, creative, and fun energy is undoubtedly contagious, and she's a bright light wherever she goes.
Alison has had the pleasure of dancing for Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, and Missy Elliot, to name a few. She has also appeared in the films Step Up 2, You Got Served, American Beauty, and Austin Powers 1 and 2. She has assisted on choreography for the last two Madonna tours, as well as for Miley Cyrus, too. As a choreographer, Alison most recently co-choreographed P!NK’s Funhouse World Tour. Her film credits include, B-Girl, The Last Godfather, Elektra Lux, and Go For It. She is also the woman behind the moves in Magic Mike! On top of all of that, Alison is such a leading example for our YGTGirls as one of the powerful members of the all female hip hop crew, The Beat Freaks, and the street dance company the Groovaloos.
We are thrilled that we got to sit down with Alison this week and receive some amazing advice from her. She is the perfect example of how far hard work, dedication, and kindness will get you. Although she has an outstanding and impressive resume, Alison has always stayed completely humble and she's always a pleasure to work with or work for. Thank you for being an amazing role model and badass lady!
MAGIC MIKE. Enough said, am I right ladies?! Can you walk us through the creative process of choreographing the Magic Mike movies? You took a classic stripper movement, and made it an empowering experience for women watching while showcasing male dancers without degrading them. What was that like?
Well, I'll tell you, working on those films was just the freaking coolest thing ever! I choreographed them with my partners Teresa Espinosa and Luke Broadlick which was a blast. The process was really unique because we worked extremely closely with Channing- so creatively we got to hear his input on story, intention, and we definitely worked with him on choreography as well. For the first film, Steven (Soderberg) and Chan really wanted to show what that world was actually like - so that was super fun, just coming up with different fun numbers, and getting introduced to these super fun characters in this crazy stripper world. And for us, we were really seeing what worked. For the second film, the intention was to have more fun and explore with the dancing even more. When choreographing it, we had a leg up because we had worked with most of the actors before so we were able to work with their strengths and take some more chances. Chan helped a lot with the “partnering” choreography - hahahaha that was pretty fun! But you are right - we wanted to create something for women that was fun, empowering, and made it ok for women to have fun and really in an unapologetic way, you know? And it was also really important for us that the men felt great about what they were doing too - and really celebrating women in the process:)
We love that you are known to “dance like the boys”. Can you tell us about how this experience has shaped you as a woman?
Hahahaha yes I definitely love to dance like the boys:) Growing up, dance was my first love, and, at the same time, I was definitely a tomboy! So, I’ve always loved to draw on that “masculine” vibe with dance as well - something about it, the athletic moves, the power, and strength in that aggressive way really called to me:) And how did this help shape me as a women - it’s interesting, what I love about dance so much, is that there are so many different ways of moving and different styles - so, depending on how i’m feeling that day, that is probably how I’m going to want to move. Some days, it is so soft, feminine, and other days the complete opposite. And that is how I feel as a women - it doesn’t have to be one thing, one way, one style, one feeling. We, as women, can do whatever we want! We can change on the daily if we want, experiment, be girly, be a tomboy, or mix it all together - there is room for all of it! We don’t ever have to put ourselves in a box - I think dance in general has helped me with that - giving me strength to be powerful, courageous, and vulnerable all at the same time.
What do you consider the greatest challenge females face in the dance industry and what’s your advice to overcome that?
Wow - this is tough - I think the biggest challenge females face in the industry is probably that your “look” is sometimes so tied into booking certain jobs. And my advice to kind of navigate through that would be this - be comfortable with yourself and who you are, know your strengths and what you bring to the table, and understand that they way you look might not always be right for every job - and that’s totally ok. The more you learn about yourself, be authentic, do what feels right to you, and follow your heart, you will be ok. And love yourself - that is truly the most important thing- love yourself - you are enough, and you are perfect!
What is the advice you'd give to your 10-year old self?
I love this:) I would tell her its all going to be ok- keep dreaming, dancing, working hard and all of that, but love yourself. As dancers we are always trying to be the best, or achieve some crazy standard we/other people have set for ourselves - and man that is tough - but just trust that everything is going to be ok, it always is. Enjoy the moments, keep your head up - i was so so shy, so, I guess I would also tell her to smile a little more - and to not be afraid to be heard.
What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?
I would say a girl that is doing her best to love her self fully, love others, and live her life to the fullest! She is bold, courageous, and forgiving of herself and others. She is fearlessly charging forward on her path of self discovery and having a blast on the way!