Professional dancer, consummate optimist and choreographer of his own life…one step (twirl, jump and lift) at a time. We sat down with MPG Messenger Alex Wong to get a behind the scenes look at the life of a dancer and see how he’s staying upbeat and fit during these unprecedented times.
Growing up in Vancouver, Canada – Alex had an innate love of movement and dance from a young age, but it was his parents who first believed that his talent could one day turn into a career.
“I always used to dance around when I was a kid. When I was around five, I started choreographing random dances and performing for my family. I'd bring everyone into the bedroom, turn off all the lights, hand my dad a flashlight and say "spotlight" me. They saw that talent in me and asked if I wanted to dance and my answer was always "no, dancing is only for girls.”
For the next couple of years, Alex’s infatuation with dance and performance continued, but only from within the confines of his own home. Sensing that their son was missing an opportunity to share his talent with the world, his parents struck a deal with him. They would bring him to a local dance school recital and if he still did not want to take lessons after that, they would not ask him again. His parent’s plan worked in their favor as Alex was instantly enamored by the performances and taken by the energy of the stage. The next day, he told his parents that he wanted to start lessons right way and since then, he’s never looked back.
That young five-year-old boy could never dream of just how far his passion for dance would take him. In 2004, at the age of 17, Alex became the first Canadian to win the esteemed Prix de Lausanne Apprentice Scholarship. Open to non-professional young dancers aged 15 to 18, the competition attracts participants from all over the world.
Now, at age 34, he has achieved some incredible career highlights that include being a principal dancer with the Miami City Ballet, being on the hit American TV show So You Think You Can Dance, a Broadway debut in Disney’s Newsies and working on the critically acclaimed movie The Greatest Showman.
Alex now calls NYC and Los Angeles home. Juggling a demanding schedule of practicing in studio, training at the gym and performing all over the world, his life is nonstop. This past year, he’s had the opportunity to work for several award shows, teaming up with prestigious artists like Taylor Swift, Paula Abdul and The Jonas Brothers.
However, pursuing a career as a dancer has not been a footloose and fancy-free endeavor for Alex. With so much competition amidst a notoriously critical industry, talent alone is often not enough to make it. Alex has learned that a resilient mindset is equally as important and his road to success has not come without obstacles, including physical injuries and continual rejection.
I think if you ask most dancers what the hardest part of pursuing this as a career is, the answer will be rejection. Within this entire career, no matter how successful you are, you definitely hear more “no’s” then “yes’s”. That’s just part of the industry and you have to know that sometimes, you just aren’t right for the “look” they’re going for (which can be size, ethnicity, height, tattoos, piercing, or really anything else).
Recently, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a particularly difficult challenge for Alex, as the entertainment industry has come to an abrupt halt, leaving TV and film production almost completely shut down. Alex has adapted to this unexpected change by exploring the digital space in order to keep things moving. He recently provided a series of online classes which were viewed by 20,000 people from all over the world. With a positive can-do outlook, he’s working to stay inspired and motivated during these trying times.
I surround myself with wonderful, positive people. Watching videos of talent keeps me inspired to continue and it renews my fire for my love of dance. I've been keeping busy taking online fitness classes, and dance classes. Also, within my friend group we started a burpee challenge where we do 100 burpees every day, in addition to our daily workouts.
Looking towards the future, Alex is focused on continuing to be happy and making choices every day to help him cultivate that happiness. And, despite navigating through these uncertain times, one thing is for sure. His talent, persistence, and positive outlook create a powerful formula for success that is bound to keep him in the spotlight for years to come.
Just like in Alex’s world of dance, every day is limitless when you have the power to move freely and comfortably. No matter where his next job takes him, he’s always ready with MPG.
I love that MPG is comfortable and looks great! I feel good in it, which is one of the most important factors when you're dancing or working out. I love the Leeway 7” Recycled Polyester Shorts because they're stretchy and I feel unrestricted in them. It allows me to move freely. I also love that it comes with a built-in compression liner. My favorite top is the Posse Element Tech Jacket because it's lightweight but packs a lot of warmth.
Get To Know Alex In 10 Questions
Q – What has been your favorite travel destination and why?
A – I really love Bangkok! I went there for my 30th birthday and it was one of my favorite places I've ever been to. All the food is so good there and shopping is amazing. On top of that, everything is really cheap! They have beautiful beaches but also the city is bustling, and it is a mix of old and new which I find fascinating.
Q – What is your guiltiest pleasure?
A – I guess it's bubble tea (boba)! But I don't even feel guilty about it! Or eating chips for breakfast. Oops.
Q – What/who are you most inspired by?
A – I'm most inspired by people working in the industry, especially if I know them personally. I love it when someone does really well or has an amazing idea. It makes me so proud and makes me want to continue working and pushing harder.
Q – Where can you be found when you are not dancing?
A – Eating, drinking bubble tea (boba), singing and spending time with friends. I love exploring the city (NYC).
Q – What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?
A – Keep working hard, stretch your back and do more gymnastics and hip hop.
Q – Who are your biggest cheerleaders and supporters to help keep you going?
A – Definitely my family and friends, first and foremost. Everyone on social media is always really kind and supportive as well.
Q – What is your favorite workout trend (or class) as of lately?
A – I like HIIT classes. These days, there are so many trends and I love variety. One of my favorite classes in NYC is Warrior Fitness Bootcamp. It's a Marine style bootcamp class. My other one is Throwback Fitness where the class is formulated around games. So, it is teamwork and creative games while working out really hard. I always forget I'm working out in that class because it's so fun.
Q – With your busy travel schedule, how do you stay on track with your health and fitness while traveling?
A – Honestly, it can sometimes be so difficult because my schedule is always shifting around. Sometimes my fitness definitely goes to the backburner but luckily my job is usually somewhat physical (although it's not quite the same as working out).
Q – Top 3 songs on your workout/training playlist?
A –They are always changing, since as dancers, we are inspired by new music all the time! Let's talk about some classics that always make me want to move:
• Beyonce - Get Me Bodied
• Merry Christmas Happy Holidays (I know, ridiculous haha)
• Greatest Showman - Come Alive
Q – Where can people find you?
A – Social media is the best way to keep up with what I am doing:
TikTok / Twitter: @alexdwong