Adam Alexander, Acting in English Teacher in Paris
- Can you tell us about your professional background before starting to teach in the Acting in English Department at Cours Florent?
My career has had tremendous balance, and I have been fortunate to work on operas, musicals, and theatre as a performer, movement coach, and fight director. Doing so in my hometown of New York City enabled me to work on incredible projects with world class talent. Before moving to France, I was teaching at The Actor’s Studio Drama School and the American Music and Dramatic Academy as well as singing and acting professionally with such productions as the Emmy nominated Carousel and Guys and Dolls at Lincoln Center and the Grammy nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street. I have over 15 years of experience teaching stage combat and fight directing at various universities and conservatories including The Pearl, New York City Opera, Manhattan School of Music, The Ohio State University, and The American Repertory Theatre, as well as Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of plays ranging from Shakespeare to McDonagh.
- What inspired you to teach at Cours Florent?
While the reputation brought me here in my search for teaching opportunities, it was the dedicated and passionate faculty and staff that inspired me to be a part of their community and continue to do so. The point of view toward the students- to offer craft while developing the voice of the individuality of each artist- is shared toward their faculty. This creates an atmosphere of unique, thinking artists. It is exciting to be a part of that.
- What do you in particular work on with your students?
The second year acting classes in general are devoted to building character. Acting is an endless exploration and discovery of one’s self as an artist, and although that discovery continues for the students, the focus is on the lives they are portraying. The most useful tool in this preparation is the text. We mine it for clues and for questions: How do these characters move? How does what they say move? How do they see the world? What is their point of view and what do they do in order to survive?
I have a very physical background, and that is reflected in how I approach the work. Connecting the body and breath to the imagination is a key element to how I teach in order to find artistic freedom and step into the mask of the character.
- What would be your advice for a future student at Cours Florent?
The advice I have is two-fold.
First, be a passionate, vulnerable nerd! Exercise your mind, body, and voice with the discipline of an Olympic athlete! Come prepared to play, with the courage to experiment. Our classrooms should be thought of as a laboratory- a place of exploration that is guided by an instructor that is ready to help deepen the sophistication of your work. Acting in English is an aesthetic, so don't just read plays in English, but go for cultural immersion and expand your frame of reference.
Second, take advantage of the student body! In the Acting in English Department you will be in a diverse environment of different backgrounds and cultures united by a common passion with all the success and failure that comes from expression through language. This is a truly powerful learning tool for young artists as it challenges their opinions and perceptions providing an opportunity to gain empathy. With our job as performers to tell stories, using the variety of the human experience right in front of you will allow you to collaborate, read together, tell old stories in a new way and invent the stories of tomorrow.