We had the good fortune of connecting with Elaine Alcorn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elaine, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I think about risk, I immediately think about the calculated risks I take to do what I do. The nature of the beast is inherently dangerous and is titled that way. You can’t perform something death defying without the risk of death or serious injury at least. To overcome fear and successfully execute a dangerous stunt can be the inspiration someone needs to overcome the challenges in their own lives. Someone who is feeling overwhelmed by the gravity of their daily life can come to the circus and watch me defy gravity and be inspired by the courage that it takes to do the seemingly impossible. The risks I take are important for that but my safety is also important. We, in this industry, must always be responsible and minimize the risk we take by taking proper care of our equipment, our bodies and our minds. Diligent preparation minimizes risk. I think the same applies to other industries as well.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My journey began at 5 years old when my mother put me in gymnastics and dance. The first phase of any artist is to hone the craft. If you’re a painter, you must learn how to hold a brush and apply paint. If you are a singer you must learn how to produce sustained sound with your vocal chords. The first 15 years of my journey in art was only about education and learning but I’ve never stopped learning, training and developing skills. Half of the battle is technique and conditioning.
Part of the challenge to my career was fitting myself into someone else’s vision. Especially early in my career, but even to this day, I have to be chosen by someone to be involved in a project that wasn’t my own. Funding is a reality to any artist. Someone has to decide you’re worth investing in. Being chosen to be in a show can not happen if you’re too tall or too short, too skinny or too large, if you have the wrong hair color or if they don’t like your face. Coming to terms with the arbitrary nature of this selection, that it has nothing to do with the talent that I had worked on for decades of my life, was one of the greatest challenges to my career.
There is always a constant reminder of your flaws and shortcomings. No matter how many compliments you receive there is always the weight of many rejections to balance it out. I learned that in order to do what I love and what I have a passion for, I had to block out everyone else’s opinions of me. I had to perform for the audience and strive to entertain, enlighten and inspire those people. I had to perform for myself and consistently strive to be better regardless of the ones who believed I wasn’t good enough. I truly believe that I was motivated by the resistance and it was through my persistence and stubborn drive that I was successful. There are many people I know more talented and deserving than I that didn’t make it, but I was the one that kept at it and that made all the difference.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m not much of a good tourist host but I do have my favorite spots. I love the Red Rock canyon and having a picnic in nature is a great way to spend time with a friend. My favorite restaurants are the late night ones like the Peppermill and Fire Fly. If you are tired of the madness of the strip or Fremont street, the Arts district is the place to go walk around and get a drink.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Super American Circus and the hard workers and talented artist that belong to its family.