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Sugar House Journal

Sugar House resident dances towards her dream

Jan 27, 2017 15h26 ● By Natalie Mollinet

Alexandra Bradshaw in "53 Rooms" by Artistic Director Daniel Charon (Ririe & Joan Woodbury. (Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company/ Stuart Rickman).

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

 Alexandra Bradshaw lives her dream. That’s why she has never stopped dancing.

 “It’s one of those corny stories,” Bradshaw said. “My grandmother took me to ‘The Nutcracker’ when I was seven and that’s when I decided I was going to be a professional dancer.”

For the past five years Bradshaw has been working with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, a longtime Utah dance institution whose mission is to make dance a part of people’s lives whether they’re serious about dance or not. Instructors bring their love of teaching dance not only to Utah residents, but also to students around the globe.

 Bradshaw, currently a Sugar House resident, was born in Canada. When she was a girl she got so ill from E. coli that her kidney’s failed. Seven other children were also infected and some died but Bradshaw managed to survive.

“My parents put me in dance to help me feel strong and feel in control of my little sick body,” she said. “And I sort of stuck with it.”

Being the daughter of a military father, who also worked in the energy business, she moved from Calgary to Houston, Texas where she lived until she was 17. She then moved to California where she earned her BFA in dance performance and a bachelor’s in English literature.

When asked why she studied English literature she said, “I’ve always been academically driven. I always knew I wanted to be a professional dancer, but I wanted to also be a journalist, and maybe an editor, so I just kept doing everything.”

After her time in California, she studied at the University of Cambridge in England where she got another degree in English literature. After she graduated from Cambridge she tried many different activities, but dancing was something that she couldn’t shake off. She knew that if she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer she’d have to give it 100 percent.

 “I knew dancing was going to be a hard ride, so I put everything on the back burner and went for it,” she said. Her family had always been supportive of her dancing but were always a little hesitant since a career in dance was uncertain.

 “They thought I’d leave and do something with my literature,” Bradshaw said, “so I thought I’d surprise them.”

 Bradshaw said the path to becoming a professional dancer wasn’t easy and took a lot of discipline. The opportunities that she was given kept driving her and her sense of fulfillment was one of the biggest reasons she kept going.

“It’s really hard, I couldn’t imagine a harder path but I am so grateful and lucky with the opportunities I’ve had,” she said. “It’s the kind of path that you choose because you have to, you can’t be fulfilled in any other way or moment, it’s kind of a leap of faith.”

Bradshaw’s dance path led her to Ririe-Woodbury where she has been since 2011. This however will be her last year with the company as she is moving to Washington State with her husband and two dogs to get her MFA in dance. She said that she has learned so much from the artistic director Daniel Charon, who has helped her in this phase of her dancing career.

“It’s kind of bittersweet and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime job and I’ll never have an opportunity like that again,” she said. “It’s hard to leave an amazing company, there’s only six of us so we all are really living together six months out of the year.”

Bradshaw will stay with Ririe-Woodbury until the end of May and will continue to perform in the meantime. She will be performing in a family show at the Capitol Theatre Feb. 3 and 4 that will end Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s winter season.