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“I Work Out 10 Hours a Day”: American Dancer Dana Alexa on Grit and Glam

American dancer, choreographer and model Dana Alexa has moved to India to judge a reality dance show, and can’t get enough of the country.

New York-born Dana Alexa started dancing when she was just two years old, and was a professional dancer by 21, having trained with the best instructors in the world in hip hop, jazz, street jazz, tap and ballet.

A well-recognized face on American TV after she choreographed and performed on Watch What Happens Live and The Real Housewives of NJ, Dana also participated on the Emmy Award-winning reality competition show The Amazing Race.

The only child of a Wall Street broker father and an art-loving mother, always loved to read and would walk to school as a young child with a book firmly in hand. Dana has choreographed numerous viral YouTube videos and has a huge social-media fan base.

Dana Alexa 1She now travels the world teaching master classes and has briefly moved to Mumbai where she judges the reality dance show High Fever: Dance Ka Naya Tevar. The 28-year-old is eager to explore India further.

A student of behavioral science and English, Alexa says her dream mission is to entertain, to be happy and to spread happiness. We have some questions for her.

How has it been so far being a judge on High Fever?
I am the international judge on High Fever. I have so loved sitting on the panel mostly because of the contestants. They are so incredibly talented and so resilient! A lot of them have overcome great obstacles to be standing on the stage. You can catch us every Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 pm on &TV.

Dana Alexa on an elephantHow has your Indian experience been?
Amazing. I have loved getting to know the people and the culture. I have been welcomed so warmly and have made friends here who will always be close to my heart. I’ve gotten to travel a bit to Jaipur and Goa and am planning a trip to the Golden Temple in May. I am having a blast exploring.

How do you motivate yourself before a performance?
Before a performance I can feel the nerves and butterflies in my stomach, just like anyone else. However, I truly live to perform and entertain. I love to be able to make people happy through dance. So, I shake off the nerves and just go out there and have a good time.

 

Dana Alexa 3Who or what inspires you?
My parents inspire me the most. My mom has beaten cancer twice already and my dad had a kidney transplant that saved his life about seven years ago. They have been through so much but they always get through things with such bravery and strength. We didn’t have a ton of money but we had such great memories.

How many hours a day do you practise?
When I am in Los Angeles my days are jam-packed. I dance eight to 10 hours per day, sometimes more. I wake up early and get into a workout. I hike, do Pilates, light-weight training and I have even begun doing some Krav Maga-style workouts with an awesome trainer. Then I head to the studio where I choreograph dance routines, teach private lessons, teach open classes at Millennium Dance Complex, shoot and edit tutorials. I also film lots of dance videos; you can see them on Instagram @danaalexa_ and on youtube.com/DanaAlexaDance.

Is there any particular diet you follow?
I follow a mostly pescatarian diet. I try to avoid dairy as much as possible (which can be tough because I love pizza and especially cheese.)

Dana Alexa 2How do you handle difficult career choices?
One of the hardest was the decision to leave New York and move to LA. I knew no one in LA so it was scary but it’s the best thing I ever did and it has been very rewarding pursuing my career on the West Coast.

What have you learnt from the entertainment industry?
In entertainment, you hear a lot of ‘no’s’ and a lot of criticism. It is important to be strong, know your worth and take it with a grain of salt. It’s also important to be happy, be kind and stay focused on your goals. You can truly create anything you set your mind to.

First published in eShe magazine’s May 2018 issue. Buy it here.

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