Originally from Rochester, NY, Aesha Ash was accepted into The School of American Ballet at age 13. During her last year there, she won the lead role in Balanchine’s “Rubies” in the famed SAB workshop, as well as the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise. Aesha began her professional career as a corps member in the New York City Ballet (where she was the only African-American woman), then went on to dance in Switzerland’s Béjart Ballet Lausanne. After struggling in Switzerland, Aesha almost said goodbye to the dance world altogether, but found new life as a member of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet—a distinctly multicultural contemporary ballet company. She’s currently working as a freelance dancer. —Kathleen Glynn
Focus on building yourself up and leave the tearing down to others. Beating yourself up won’t make you better; it will only be detrimental. If you allow yourself to enter this pool of negativity, you’ll spend most of your career—and life—trying to find a way out.
Since your interest in ballet came at a later age than most, you’ll be a little behind the other dancers. That’s fine. Keep taking the corrections in class that are intended for other people as if they were for you. And search beyond your day-to-day instruction. The more you learn, and the more people you learn from, the more you will grow.
Versatility is something you admire, so hang on to that. You will eventually go places and work with choreographers where it will come in handy. But in order to truly grow, it’s imperative you keep your mind open and free from old habits. Each day is a fresh start and a new chance for discovery. Hold on to this truth, and take advantage of every opportunity to discover who you are as a dancer. No individual can put limitations on you unless you give them the power. You’re more powerful than you know.
Most importantly, dance as if no one’s watching. You’ll hear this a thousand times, but it’s important. Don’t waste time wondering what others think of you. Remember, Aesha, be kind to yourself!
Dancer Yesenia Ayala first caught our eye in the off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster earlier this year. So, we were super excited when we found out she was making her Broadway debut in this spring's sweetest new show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Both productions were choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.)
Since the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream at American Ballet Theatre's spring gala Monday night, the DS editors haven't stopped talking about its creepy-cute sets and costumes, created by artist Mark Ryden. Well, the obsession is about to get even crazier, because we just heard that Ryden's artwork for the ballet is now on display in not one, but TWO locations in NYC.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.