Success comes to those who strive and after 20 years of teaching, one of GCC’s very own has accomplished her biggest goal.
Alexandra Blackbird, a dance professor, is the proud owner of Blackbird Dance Co. After working as part of the management for dance studios in Seattle, Rhode Island, Northridge and Woodland Hills, Blackbird started a business of her own. The grand opening celebration party is this April 9 with a live DJ, food and dancing from 7p.m. to 11p.m. for all ages. “The 4-1-1,” a free dance day on April 11 from 12p.m. to 9p.m. where all classes are free.
The company offers classes in acting, dancing and aerobics. They are available to anyone from ages 3 and up. Private lessons, wedding choreography, workshops, auditions, filming and space rentals are also available.
“This is my dream studio, all my life this is the one I’ve wanted – the location, everything, it’s beautiful. All my other experiences have led me to this path,” said Blackbird.
Blackbird Dance Co. is located at 6767 W. Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. The studio is on the second floor of the Sunset Plaza building across Hollywood High School and one block south of the Hollywood and Highland “Walk of Fame” attractions.
Benjamin Tom, 20, a current dance student said, “I’d like to eventually work there so I can be in the dance environment. I’ve taken her class for three semesters and like her dancing style of hip-hop, it’s unique. She breaks down her routines to make it easier to learn.”
Blackbird has been teaching since she was 15 years old, and started with jazz at The American Festival of Ballet in Boise, Idaho. At the time she had eight years of ballet and jazz training, and took over the class she was in when her professor appointed her the new instructor. “She’s the greatest teacher hands down, and I would recommend her to anyone,” said Tom.
When Blackbird was 7 years old her parents signed her up for dance classes because she was moving furniture around the house to do choreography. She taught herself from recordings of MTV on VHS how to do hip-hop, since there were no official classes until the late ’90s, when it became popular. During her junior high and high school years, she took gymnastics and cheerleading, which helped hone her skills in teaching herself breakdancing.
At the age of 17, Blackbird attended Smith College in Northampton, Mass., a private women’s liberal arts school where she majored in dance. At the college she learned modern, African, and tap and continued with ballet and jazz. After college, Blackbird studied salsa and capoeira in Seattle.
Wendy Jaurigue, 21, a current dance student, said that taking Blackbird’s dance class is “therapeutic.” For Jaurigue, the class is “comfortable, inviting and easy to follow. It makes me want to go to her studio and see her techniques, and if she teaches differently [compared to a regular dance class].”
When Blackbird was asked why she wanted a studio when she can teach hip-hop and salsa at GCC she said, “having a studio to me, is having a home. I feel homeless without one. Teaching in the college is what I love to do, and plan on continuing that, but this is a personal goal. It’s a way to give back to the community of dance and entertainment.”
Jaurigue said that some professors teach for the money, but Blackbird is different, she’s passionate about her work. “This is my success story, especially being a single mom of two,” said Blackbird. Despite dedicating her time to two children and teaching at GCC, Blackbird accomplished her dream.
For more information about Blackbird Dance Co. visit www.blackbirddance.com or call (818) 455-5638.