Ashly Costa Shares How to Deal When You're Asked to Dance in Something You're Uncomfortable With
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
Dance Spirit: Have you ever had experiences with costuming where you felt uncomfortable? Can you tell us about it?
Ashly Costa: Of course! When I started on "Dancing with the Stars," I knew right from the beginning what costuming would work for me and the standards that I have. I know it's kind of hard to stand up for that in the Dance World, but I had a feeling that it was the right thing for me and my career. I spoke to the costume designer at the time, and I just told her what I felt comfortable wearing and what I didn't. I said, "I don't feel very comfortable wearing something that's extremely revealing and I know I won't dance well if I am." I never wanted to be demanding. I never said, "I have to have this or I'm not going to dance." I simply said, "If it's ok with you, would you mind please putting these inserts in to my costumes?" And 100% of the time the costume designers were so accommodating!
Costa and Buzz Aldrin on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 10 (courtesy ABC)
DS: The costume designers seem so supportive, but how did the producers feel about you wearing costumes that were different from other costumes on the show?
AC: Honestly, when you don't give them a reason to question why you wore a costume, then they won't question it at all. They're so busy that they'll just look at the color and make sure everything looks great. I don't know if it would ever come into their minds that a costume is a little more modest than some of the other costumes out there because you still look amazing! If you look gorgeous, then they don't care!
Costa and Joey McIntyre on "Dancing with the Stars" season 1 (courtesy ABC)
DS: Do you have any advice for young performers who might be too intimidated to say anything?
AC: Just do it! Pull them aside and just talk to them. I promise that most of the time they'll say, "Okay let's see if we can try to fix this to make you feel more comfortable." The worst thing they can say to you is, "No you have to wear this." That's when you have a personal choice about whether or not the job is worth it for you to take. We're our own bosses when it comes to what we wear, so let your voice be heard in a way that is nice and courteous.
Costa and Harry Hamlin on "Dancing with the Stars" season 1 (courtesy ABC)
DS: Are there ways to prevent costume conflicts before dancers even book the job?
AC: Yes. First and foremost, always do your homework before you go to the audition. Know what you're getting into by asking questions. As a dancer in the industry, that is your strongest suit. Know what product or brand the gig is for, and who you're dancing for, to see if it's a perfect match for you. Don't feel like you have to jeopardize your personal standards. If you come to the audition and you didn't realize the costume choice would be briefs and pasties, and you aren't comfortable with that, you'll have a problem. (If you are comfortable with that, more power to you!) But if not, just know that there will always be another job. They're always looking for all types of dancers!
Ashly and Buzz Aldrin on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 10 (courtesy Costa)
DS: Any last words of advice for our Dance Spirit Readers?
AC: Stay true to who you are, whoever that is.
I've never tried to be who I'm not supposed to be, and it's really paid off for me. I've still had an amazing career in the dance world and choosing not to wear certain costumes hasn't stopped me from becoming the person I'm supposed to be.
Next time you're asked to wear a costume that you're uncomfortable with, try Ashly's advice and communicate your concerns. It might really pay off!
What's better than a good dance joke? They're corny, they're punny, and they're exactly what you need to get you through long Nutcracker days. These 10 jokes are guaranteed to put a smile on your face—no matter how much your feet are hurting.
Some might say Charlize Glass' fame kicked off with a single three-letter word. In 2014, Beyoncé shared a video of the then–12-year-old dancer performing to "Yoncé" on Instagram, along with a simple caption: "WOW!"
But by that point, the hip-hop mini had already performed at the MTV Video Music Awards and on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and won first runner-up with her crew, 8 Flavahz, on "America's Best Dance Crew." And her Queen Bey Insta shout-out wasn't even the pinnacle of her tween career: She earned a spot on The PULSE On Tour as an Elite Protégé for the 2014–2015 season, and performed with Missy Elliott at the Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show in 2015.
These days, the 16-year-old spends her time touring the country as Brian Friedman's assistant at Radix Dance Convention and blowing up YouTube and Instagram with her class-video cameos. And while the Char Char we fell in love with was a hip-hop cutie pie, the more mature artist we see today is sure to rock the dance world for years to come.
You're obsessed with class videos. We're obsessed with class videos. The passion, energy, and talent showcased in these clips, which give us an insider-y peek at the commercial dance world's hottest classes, are totally irresistible.
But at what point does the phenomenon go from being a good thing to a bad thing for dancers and the dance world? Is the focus on filming distracting from the work dancers are supposed to be doing in class? Are overproduced videos presenting a dangerously misleading picture of the dance world? Is the pressure to be a class video star becoming too much for dancers to handle? These are some of the questions A-list dancer and choreographer Ian Eastwood—no stranger to the class video himself—has been asking on Twitter. And they've sparked a lively, important debate.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
"So you Think You Can Dance" Season 14 finalists Lex Ishimoto and Taylor Sieve shocked fans at home (at least the ones who hadn't thoroughly scoured their respective Instagrams) during Episode 14, when choreographer Mia Michaels asked if either of them had ever experienced "the kind of love that takes your breath away." They confessed that, yup, they had—with each other. The two met at The Dance Awards in the summer of 2016, where they were each named Senior Best Dancer, and went on to tour with the convention as assistants. Before long—and long before their "SYTYCD" journey—they became a couple.
Take a look at Dance Spirit's exclusive interview where they dish on everything from their favorite dates to the dance moves that give them all the feels.
There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company. Regina, 40, will retire from the stage in March, just as her daughter starts her own career as a trainee. But for this one season, they're sharing the stage together.
Yes, we all know dancers are strong. But sometimes it takes a truly epic workout video to remind us JUST HOW INSANELY STRONG they actually are.
Behold, National Ballet of Canada principal Svetlana Lunkina's oh-so-casual pre-class exercise:
Dance Spirit is beyond excited to announce the first round of 2017 Future Star winners! Every year, DS partners with competitions to recognize dancers with exceptional presence and ability. The second round of winners will be featured in our January issue, so stay tuned!