Alex Burkart Teaching

TEACHING

I have an MFA in Performance Pedagogy (the science of teaching) with a focus in Acting/Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University.  While getting my Masters I taught and designed the undergraduate Directing I and II sequence, as well as developed classes in Acting for Web Content, and Voice-Over/Radio Drama.  While in Los Angeles, I teach On-Camera Acting to some of Hollywood’s most up-and-coming actors at Zak Barnett Studios in Los Angeles, CA.

This upcoming Fall Semester I will be a Visiting Assistant Professor in Theatre at Beloit College in Beloit, WI: teaching courses in Acting as well as Theories in Contemporary Performance.

My specialties include: Acting for New Media (web platforms), Acting for the Camera, Acting Technique (various methodologies), Voice-Over, Script Analysis, Stage Directing and Playwriting

I’ve also conducted workshops and classes in: Business of Acting, Voice and Speech (Accents/Dialects and IPA), Shakespeare, and Performance Theories.

Research interests include: Acting for Media (film, voice-over, web content) and Modern Myth

I’ve taught workshops across the United States, including: Virginia Commonwealth University, Adams State University, Beloit College, SETC, the Greater Los Angeles area, and the Greater Chicago area.  I also have a keynote speech centered on integrating drama and theater into high school class curriculum, in an effort to further the objectives of social emotional learning and critical literacy.  The speech was initially presented at the Middle and High School English Teachers Conference at Adams State University in CO.

Check out the entire list of courses taught as well as my creative endeavors by looking at my CV.

I’m happy to bring a workshop to your neck-of-the-woods (wherever that may be).  Please contact me by e-mailing alexburkart@gmail.com and give me the lowdown, and I’ll give you mine.

My Teaching Philosophy

CONNECT

CONTEXTUALIZE

COLLABORATE

CREATE

CONTRIBUTE

Alex Burkart SETC
Alex Burkart co-teaches a workshop with Brianna Larson at SETC

My Philosophy of Teaching

I was born with a clone in the form of an identical twin.  My brother ultimately shared my interest in the performing arts, and co-found a theatre company with me in Los Angeles.  This twin-ship led to some amazing opportunities and throughout our acting journey it was said that I was lucky to have such a gimmick.  What many failed to recognize however, was the challenge I would face to find my own individual place and identity (apart from him) in a very personal art form. After this observation, I decided to commit my teaching to helping students find their own personal identities and voice. 

Leading someone towards the trust of their own identity and voice can be tricky: the system that I practice is centered on four C’s: connection, context, creativity, and collaboration. I find these principles quite useful in both lecture and studio settings.

Connection refers to the individual’s ability to relate to other people, objects, ideas, and environments.  It is a vital element as it is the gateway for humans to behave honestly.  In studio settings this allows them to access a degree of truth, and in lecture it allows them to stay engaged.  Getting students to “connect” requires me as a teacher to connect with them as well, therefore encouraging a greater sensitivity to diversity in my pedagogical practices, exercises, and class materials.  This connection also plants the initial seeds for individual identification, confidence, and expression.

Context is the concentration on analysis and sensitivity to structure.  This principle is meant to be flexible in both definition and execution.  For example, in a text analysis class this is the concentration on the context of words and how they define the world, while in a class focused on new work creation the context may be centered on the understanding and empathy behind certain themes and ideas.   It is also with context that the student can find where they individually exist within the structure of their classroom and/or creative family ultimately constructing a community.

The final two Cs are meant to function together: creativity and collaboration.  I am a firm believer in my teaching that both learning and performance is not something we do alone, but do together.  Even in solo performance the artist must collaborate with the audience to embrace that relationship of understanding and communication. I find that creativity with students is best served by teaching them to use their imagination in a productive way.  Getting them to engage in process instead of product, constantly thinking “what if?” becomes my primary objective.  With collaboration, actors learn the importance of giving over to partners and letting go of “ego.”  This garners a greater sense of inclusivity.  The practice of creativity and collaboration also allows minds to see how they can serve their greater community, rather than making their work a selfish endeavor.

I find it perhaps most interesting how one can learn most about their individual self through these four Cs, which also happen to deeply involve other people.  That too was my own discovery after breaking away from my twin “bubble,” inspiring me to reach out to others whose stories I never heard or understood.  With my philosophy I firmly believe that we as teachers do far more than educate; we do not just develop actors, directors, playwrights, teachers, or students: we develop a fifth and final C, the ones that have the potential to change our world: contributors.