Alonzo King LINES dancer
“do what makes you happy.”
if Ashley looks familiar to you, that’s probably because you’ve seen her rocking époque évolution on our website. or perhaps you’ve seen her on stage — with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York or with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco. but, either way, Ashley is using this time to take a minute to herself, and thinks you should, too: “listen to your body and your mind, and trust that it’s leading you to happiness and peace.” here’s how she’s doing just that.
you are a dancer. tell us more. tell us everything.
“a couple years ago, i left everything behind and moved across the country — from New York City to San Francisco — in search of my voice as an artist. i had been feeling like my heart was searching for something, an avenue to speak from, but first needed to know what it felt like to move away from all my comfort zones. i got an opportunity to audition for one of my dream companies: Alonzo King LINES Ballet. his format gave me the space i needed to find what i was looking for.
i always say that i didn’t choose dance, dance chose me. when it gets hard, and when i want to give up, there’s a voice inside me saying “you have so much more to do, you have so much more to say.” that voice of perseverance keeps me going. i believe that voice belongs to the little girl who had a dream, i never want to let her down. so i keep going and keep striving for my best.”
something you’ve learned on the stage?
“i’ve always admired the dancers and artists who speak truth and are true to their humanity as much as their art. being human on stage for all to see isn’t something that comes naturally for me, but i’ve realized being vulnerable is necessary to telling the truth and to being relatable, especially in my profession. being vulnerable will never stop being scary, but we must all face our fears.”
we are living in crazy — but important, for so many reasons — times. what is life like right now for you?
“life right now is just following my heart where ever it wants to be, do, and go. i’m trying to stay on a schedule, but i find spending more time with family sometimes leads to more important ventures. i’ve dedicated my whole life to my art and dance, i feel like right now i’m finding a very necessary space to just be me. human. but to elaborate beyond the artistic sense: the current state of affairs that our country has been enduring has affected me in a tremendous way. the responsibility that African Americans are holding on their shoulders is heavy, to say the least, with the current events in our country. i’m trying in every way, everyday, to do my part, but also to maintain happiness and gratitude for the life i live.”
fill in the blank: this summer, you are getting out and _______________.
“gardening. i’ve recently developed the interest in taking care of my back yard at my mothers’ home. i’ve enjoyed planting flowers and watching them grow, learning what they need. for the first time i’ve had the space and the time to really have plants. nurturing something takes great patience and a kind of fine tune listening. it brings me peace, and it’s an easy way to keep moving and be in nature.”
what’s important to your daily routine?
“it’s important that every morning i take my immune regimen (ACV & vitamins) and do some kind of fitness activity, whether it be ballet class, Peleton cardio strength work outs, running or working in the garden. i make it a point to do something that serves my wellbeing daily, whether it’s working out, taking an online class or just reading, clearing my mind and meditating. sometimes even just doing nothing, if that’s what i’m craving. it’s so important that we start thinking about our wellness not just as an image on the outside, but how we radiate wellness from within. happiness equals wellness.”
how are you staying connected with friends and family?
“at first we were doing a combination of Zoom or FaceTime happy hours. but now we just text to keep in touch and check in every once in a while. friends are like stars, you know.... might not always see them but you know they’re always there. my family, i see them often. this is a time i’ll always remember because i can’t ever say I’ll have this amount of time to spend with them ever again. i usually only see them twice a year so i’m taking as much advantage as i can.”
what are you watching?
“i just finished Game of Thrones for the second time around. what a disappointing ending. but still: an amazing show full of love, hate, poetry, politics, honor, artistry, and lessons. i’ve gained some interesting insight.”
all-around life hack you swear by?
“do what makes you happy.”
advice to other women navigating it all?
“take it one step at a time. don’t think about all the things you have to do at once. just pick one task complete it and keep doing that until you meet your goals.”
“trash TV. 90 Day Fiancé is my go-to.”
“what you need is what you have. manifest until it becomes reality.”