The 37th profile in the Cleveland Performing Arts Examiner ACTOR PROFILE series features ALEXIS FLOYD. This series (in interview form) is in process to “get to know” some of our own northeastern Ohio talent. Profiles will feature equity and non-equity actors, stage and screen actors, as well as young, old and in-between actors. These are your peers and your neighbors – please enjoy!
Full Name: Alexis Generette Floyd
Years acting: 5
Year in school: 11th Grade at Hawken School
Resident city: Cleveland, Ohio
Official acting training: Fairmount Performing Arts Conservatory, Summer Theater Institute at Juilliard, Cleveland Play House Summer Camp
Kate Miller: I see that you attend Hawken School – how has Hawken prepared you for life after high school?
Alexis Floyd: Hawken has helped me develop my love for learning. The rigorous and diverse curriculum has taught me so many ways to learn, and to apply critical thinking and analysis to everything I do. It’s encouraged me to never settle for anything below my best, and always think about the possibility to improve what I’ve already accomplished. Hawken’s also been so supportive of me in my pursuit [of a career in the arts], particularly in figuring out my schedule for Australia this year.
KM: So what do you want to be when you “grow up”?
AF: A Performing Artist – acting, singing and dancing on camera, onstage, and as many other realms of the theater I can pursue.
KM: Why did you start acting?
AF: It grew out of a love for dance since I was very young. I stumbled upon an audition in a community theater show when I was in 6th grade, and once I got started it seemed I couldn’t stop! It’s been a wonderful journey so far, and I hope to continue it as long as I can.
KM: Any other actors in your family?
AF: My father was a singer during his college years, and still is now and again (which is always a treat), but no, no actors.
KM: And you sing.
AF: I do. I’m still learning of course, but you never stop learning. That’s the best part!
KM: You also dance. What’s your training?
AF: Dance is the area I’ve trained in the longest. Since I was about six, I studied ballet at the Cleveland School of Ballet. I did The Nutcracker with them a few years in a row, and later continued my training in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip-hop, African, and liturgical dance. Dance is a wonderful art I’ve learned to truly love.
KM: Describe how you feel when you dance.
AF: Dancing, to me, is the freest state of mind one can experience. It allows your body to lose all tension, and you can commit yourself to reacting and interacting with the music and any others on stage with you. It’s an extremely intimate and powerful experience, and while it does require a lot of concentration, it also requires your mind to give in to your deepest emotions. You can express yourself without the limits of language, technology, or even the stresses in your life that can limit expressions. It’s a language everyone understands.
KM: Any thoughts about college after high school? Or will you be diving right into work?
AF: I’ve thought about both options – whether to dive right into work or study at school before heading out, but education is too valuable of a tool to pass up. Being an intelligent actor is impeccable, and the more variety and amount of education you can receive, the better you’ll serve yourself both in versatility as well as in the general knowledge of your craft. And that can be any kind of education! I plan to receive at least a graduate degree in theater, but I have a feeling I’ll be a life-long student.
KM: How do you prep for an audition?
AF: Simply being as prepared as I can be, and then some. The more comfortable I am with the material, the less my nerves will get to me. It also allows me to be spontaneous in the moment and show a fresh approach each time. It’s always scary, and I’m sure I’ll always be nervous for auditions, but it helps to know I’ve got something solid under my belt.
KM: What is your dream role?
AF: After many, many more years of experience, I would love to be Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun.
KM: Who are your favorite actors and actresses?
AF: There are so many brilliant performers out there. Just name a few, I greatly admire LaChanze, Mark Rylance, Denzel Washington, Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Michael Arden, George Roth (our own gem of Cleveland!), Natalie Portman, and Meryl Streep.
KM: For you, what’s the hardest part about acting?
AF: I think being honest and completely alive in the moment onstage is the hardest part. For me, it’s easy to get distracted from your objective, or to fall into a pattern of reacting mechanically to your partner each night. The ability to completely abandon the outside world and live truthfully in the life of your character is a great and wonderful challenge of the theater.
KM: Didn’t you recently win an award with the Cleveland Orchestra? Tell me about that.
AF: Thanks! Well, I recently won the Cleveland POPS Orchestra’s music scholarship competition, and with it I had the unbelievable chance to perform with the POPS orchestra at Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra! I’ll never forget that evening as long as I live. I encourage everyone to go out for the competition; it’s open to singers as well as any young musicians in the Cleveland area.
AF: Sure! Music, movies, playing the piano, playing violin, taking pictures, traveling, and trying new things.
KM: Do you have any pets?
AF: Oh man, I wish (Mom, a dog would be great!)
KM: Paper or plastic?
AF: Paper for me, although recently I’ve been trying to bring tote bags to the grocery store. You can use them over and over!
KM: What’s your favorite spot to eat in Cleveland?
AF: The Chocolate Bar near 4th Street!
KM: When you go to The Chocolate Bar, what is your favorite thing to order?
AF: I love the macaroni and cheese there. And then for dessert? You can just close your eyes and wherever your finger lands on the menu, you’ll LOVE it!
KM: Are you currently in any shows?
AF: I’m doing my school’s musical, Hairspray, this upcoming February. Later in May, I’m doing the production of WANDERLUST: A HISTORY OF WALKING – I performed it first with Cleveland Public Theatre and again this past summer in Soho. I will be heading off to be a part of the first annual “Anywhere Theater Festival” in Brisbane, Australia. I can hardly wait!
KM: Australia is a long way away! What will you be doing for the Anywhere Theater Festival?
AF: For the festival in Australia, we’ll perform WANDERLUST: A History of Walking in many different settings where theater is not typically housed (a drained pool, an abandoned factory, a public park, etc.). I think it pairs with the themes of the show beautifully. It’s all about putting the technical aspects of our lives on the backburner, and carrying your art with you wherever you go.
KM: Finally, Alexis – Why do YOU think Cleveland rocks?
AF: The theater district! It’s the second largest in the nation. Plus the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Now THAT rocks.
– Check out Alexis Floyd’s SLIDESHOW – Click here.
– More Cleveland-area ACTOR PROFILES – Click here.
Do you have a Cleveland area performing arts related story or event? If so, contact Cleveland Performing Arts Examiner, KATE MILLER at [email protected] with your pitch.