Allison Honea is an educator, director/choreographer, classically trained dancer, and performer from Atlanta, Georgia. She studied Theatre Education at Columbus State University, then went on to earn her Master of Arts degree from Emerson College, where she focused on theater and dance education in relation to social justice. She joined the WCT family in 2016 and has had the joy of teaching hundreds of students both onsite and offsite, as well as choreographing and directing numerous productions. In her role as Director of Education at MCA, she strives to foster community while inspiring confidence in youth and their ability to enact change through the arts.
What’s your earliest memory of the arts?
I started my ballet training at the age of three, and I always loved the creative drama exercises we would do in dance class. The standout was a song about a troll we had to sneak past, and I’d get totally into the movements and the story. I’m sure that’s what first inspired my love of teaching, and getting to bring students and audience members along for the ride of a compelling tale!
Do you have a favorite memory or story about MCA?
Choreographing Chicago: School Edition was special, not just because it was a dream show for me, as Fosse is my dance icon, but because my former student Renee Dwyer was my assistant on the production. She was in the cast of many of my WCT productions, as well as the ballerina in one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever choreographed, so it was huge for me to see her take on choreographing full numbers of her own in Chicago. And she always remembered my choreography, even when I didn’t! I love seeing young people grow and become leaders themselves.
How have you stayed connected to the arts these past nine months?
I had a blast teaching Free Dance Fridays online in the spring—it definitely got me out of several quarantine funks to choreograph something new each week and bring dance into my living room. I even got myself a portable tap dance floor! I’ve also taken up many new artforms with my spare time—embroidery, hand lettering, sewing masks, and lots of painting.
Who’s your favorite artist (of any form—visual arts, theater, music, dance)?
Sasha Velour, who is a drag queen and incredible visual artist, has been such a big inspiration to me as an artist. From paying homage to Liza Minelli while flawlessly performing original Fosse choreography, to standing in place for an entire song while her artwork is projected over her, to creating an emotional character arc as a glamorous portrayal of Gollum (truly one of the weirdest and most beautiful performances I’ve ever seen!), Sasha truly can do it all. My fiancé is a history teacher and even uses Sasha’s performance videos and artwork to teach about social justice movements. Drag is such a powerful and important artform, and for me Sasha’s work really embodies why we need art.
Do you have a favorite musical or play?
Hamilton, because of the brilliance of the show itself of course, but also what it’s meant to my fiancé and me. On our first anniversary, a woman I can only describe as a kind fairy godmother bought us fabulous, 6th row orchestra seats to see the original Broadway cast. It’s by far the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to me. When we got engaged this year, the song “Helpless” was playing. I love how theater can so easily become entwined with our most precious memories in life, and just hearing a song can bring you right back to a moment.
Do you have a favorite quote about the arts or one you’d like to share?
“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” — Ms. Frizzle, The Magic School Bus