Photography by Jeff Code
As his turn in the Nightlife Coverboy spotlight approached last September, John Alix realized it was probably a good time to come out to his mother in Crystal City. It turned out that the news didn’t come as a complete surprise.
“Mom said, ‘You left clues,’ ” John says, laughing. “She’s been great about it. ”
One of those clues maybe — just maybe — came during high school when John started studying and practicing his big sister’s dance team moves. But whether or not it had anything to do with being gay, it was an early sign of his passion for dance.
John grew up “all over the country, ” until his family settled in Northern Virginia in the mid-1990s. Now 20, John is a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., where he pursues a major in both dance choreography and business.
“The business thing was basically for my mom, ” John says. “She doesn’t doubt my talent, but it’s something to fall back on if I get injured or something. ”
So far, it seems, he doesn’t have to worry about falling back to anything. While attending college full time, he also performs as a member of Richmond’s Starr Foster Dance Project. And many D.C. club hoppers recognize him from his performances at Velvet Nation, where he and a group of dancer friends first graced the stage with a jazz/hip-hop piece at the club’s Madonnarama. He’s hitting the stage again this Saturday as part of the retro-themed Flashdance.
“When you’re in theatre performance, you have an audience sitting quiet, ” he says, explaining why he enjoys his time on stage in front of dancing throngs. “When you have an audience that’s alive and able to yell and scream, it gives us energy as dancers, and creates a better performance all around. ”
Between the stage at Velvet and the pages of Nightlife, it’s no surprise to John that he’s been recognized on the street — although it happened so often one weekend that a visiting friend from London asked, “Are you famous here? ”
John says he had a great time as a coverboy, although if he had to do it again he would make surecertain one fact came through a bit more clearly: He’s single.
“Everyone thought I was dating someone and I’m not, ” he says. “I missed an opportunity to meet guys. ” Although he’s open to a boyfriend and a relationship, he doesn’t want to have a “weekend ” boyfriend who he only sees during his near-weekly trips to Washington.
As for the future, John’s not completely sure where he’ll end up — Los Angeles, New York and Washington all have their charms. But he’ll definitely be seen around D.C. at the end of January, when he turns 21 and plans to hit all the bars and clubs he’s been too young to enter since he started going out at seventeen.
From there, who knows. But you can tell from the smile on his face he’s going to have a lot of fun getting there.
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