Name | Ashley
Occupation | Copyright Examiner
Why bellydance? | I've always enjoyed dancing, but I feel more of a connection with bellydance than any other form. It's fun to challenge my body to move in such different ways.
How long have you been at Saffron? | 6 years
How did you find Saffron Dance, and what keeps you coming back? | I came across a Groupon for a 4 week crash course and thought it sounded like a fun thing to try. In addition to just loving bellydance, the instructors and other women are what keep me coming back to Saffron. It's a very positive atmosphere.
What were your thoughts after your first class? | It was so much fun, and I couldn't wait to come back for more!
Can you speak a bit about your experience in Student Company and working closely with faculty and fellow dancers? | It took me a long time to decide to make the commitment of joining a Student Company, but I'm so happy I finally did. It makes it about more than just learning a choreography. Working together with the same instructor and dancers for a whole year has taught me a lot about teamwork.
You recently performed at a Performance Development Circle. Can you speak a bit about your experience preparing for and performing this piece? | It was my first solo, and it was made up of a variety of very interesting assignments from Jenna's 6 week choreography class. I had wanted to choreograph a piece for awhile, but I never knew where to start. Jenna's instruction and encouragement gave me the confidence to create and share it with others. The PDC was exactly the right place to perform it. I was nervous, but I knew I was surrounded by people who truly wanted to see me succeed.
What are your dance goals for the future? | I'd like to gain additional experience creating and performing my own choreographies.
How she inspires us | As dancers, we all have our weaknesses and strengths. Some dancers are perfectly comfortable on stage. Others gravitate toward choreography, and some absorb technique like it's nothing. Because good technique is easily identifiable and quantifiable, progress in this area of dance is often put on a pedestal. Dancers are always pursing that next step or a promotion to the next level of technique. Ashley is undoubtedly a great technician, but what makes her an excellent student is that she's actively exploring the areas where she's most intimidated as an artist.
I've worked with Ashley both as a choreographer and as a choreographic coach while she develops her own works. In both instances, she applies herself with single-minded focus to the creative and artistic aspects of the work. She could hide behind her solid technique, but instead she's devoted herself to breaking out of her shell. She is constantly trying to be more vulnerable with her emotions and connect more deeply with the audience. She's targeted that area for growth, and she's diving in headfirst. It's been an honor to watch her progress, and I hope her bravery inspires us all to seek out the experiences that scares us. -- Jenna