We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Floyd and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Listening to my authentic self behind all the desires to “fit in” contributed to OdDancity’s success as a unique dance company. Once I removed all the superficial ideals of society and years of learned patterns, and dug deep into my psychological being, I found the genre and movement vocabulary that has become my niche. Letting go of other people’s expectations, your own expectations, making things “pretty”, and making art for other people is absolutely crucial to finding your own individual identity as an artist. I find I make the best creations, when I have no ulterior motives. A concept emerges from my subconscious and I play with it as it grows and forms into a work. I never push the art, for me, forced art never moves me. If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t have anything to say, so why say anything? If I have something to say, it will appear. To this effect; however, it doesn’t come clean and tidy and clear. True art lives in the deep feminine, the yin, the mess, the uncontrolled. It is difficult to hear when it arrives, but you can tune your ear to welcome the mess and set it into motion. There is so much weirdness in all of us, leaning in to my internal OdDness has been the most useful action in my growth as an artist.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started my dance company in 2012 with the idea of making work that could touch everyone, which ironically slowly transitioned into work that physically touches everyone in a very immersive way. In 2013, I stopped making “happy” work, and centered on a piece that was supposed to “get out all the bad” called My Worst Enemy. It was a piece about my eating disorder struggle and my childhood trauma all wrapped up into ugly movement and disturbing sound. It was an agonizing piece, I spent days locked in my room in a terrible mindset getting it all out of my mind, body, and soul. Once it was performed, I realized I wasn’t done. Not only was I not done, I felt I was just beginning. I had a lot more to say and a lot more movement ideas pouring from my dark soul. I set a full length work around that piece, Intrinsick. From there, I set several full length works; an asylum concept (Lunatick), an exorcism/body haunting(Scaldead), and a nightmare (Slivers). Losing your mind (Marbles), was my first immersive work. We used thousands of marbles in a small room, they rolled everywhere interacting with the dancers and the audience. They became a soundscape and a piece of the dance. Invoke was an immersive seance piece that took place in a small circle of 10 people. Unihiekka, Sleep Sand, was a thorough immersive full length, set to bone-chilling lullabies from countries around the world. Each short lullaby translated a story of subjects like the sand-man and mother’s killing their own babies to survive in the 1700s. As far as I know, there is no one doing what I do. I coin myself as an immersive horror dance company, and that gives some idea. Each work is a complete experience; terrifying yet relatable. Regardless of where you are in your life as an audience member, you will feel something during my work. It’s kind of like signing up for a haunted house and a dance show rolled into one. It’s theatrical but not so much that it feels fake or showy. It’s raw. It’s real. I pull from real emotions and the dancers are performing with their whole being.
Has it been easy? In many ways, yes. Once I started to roll with the dark and weird, movement came naturally. For now, it is difficult because we are in a world without touch. So for the moment, I am allowing the pause…knowing that soon people will crave contact even more than they did pre-pandemic. And I will be waiting for those people and that renaissance with distorted open arms.
The most important lesson I have learned is that you don’t need a lot to start making work. Limitations improve creativity. I have never had an outside source of funding, but that has never stopped me from creating. The most important thing to me, is to make sure my artists are paid. Otherwise, you can be creative when it comes to finding space, dancers, music, etc. If you have all the tools given to you, then there is no struggle, and the art often comes out quite boring. Most of my work has emerged in the times in my life when I lived in scarcity. In my early 20s, I worked 3 jobs so I could pay for space and my dance artists (and rent and food, etc). I had to be savvy. This skill continues to serve me.
The other lesson, which I touched on before, is to allow your true inner being to shine through, even if that authentic self is super weird and dark and maybe not so shiny. Your being has something to say, and saying it is important in whichever avenue takes shape. When I created work that didn’t align with my soul, it was never as fulfilling as I wanted. Now I have learned not to make work for anyone but me. My work isn’t money driven, or fame driven. It is driven by my core, my being, my super weird, and for some wild reason, that is relatable. I believe we are all super weird on the inside, even if our identities tell us otherwise.
Anyone has the capability to build something out of nothing. Creating art is the best form of therapy. It is also an expression tool that can bring people together.
I hope the world will experience my work in some way or another, but I’m making it, and that’s all that matters. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I could not have prepared such meaningful work with out dance artists who were willing to dive head first and fully submerge themselves in my art. My shoutout goes to all the dancers who have ever danced with OdDancity since it’s inception in 2012; including but not limited to: Angela Todaro, Kistina Pressler, Ana Miro, Leslie Augustine, Dani Gies, Emily Yetter, Chrissie Leong, Samantha Boehlen, Ernesto Manacop, Timothy Marquis Johnson, Heidi Buehler, Lindsay Marquino, Kerri Leonard, Jessie Nagler. And to my friends and family for supporting me even when no one else showed up! My professors, Margaret Wilson and Lawrence Jackson who planted the seed of starting a dance company on my own. And Judith Smith for telling me “Just start making work”.
photo credit: Alex Floyd