Choreographer and Dancer, Ashley Everett took a leap of faith to materialize her dreams of becoming a professional dancer in her early teen years. The Hit the Floor actress who serves as Beyonce’s dance captain specifically moved from California to New York to pursue her dreams. Ashley studied dance at Alvin Ailey and became a Rockette as well. Not one to miss out on any of life’s opportunities, she attended an open -call audition that Beyonce had for dancers. Ashley impressed Bey’s choreographer, Frank Gatson, who invited her to tour with the super star. This came at the expense of Ashley not attending Julliard’s performing arts college, which she had always dreamed of attending but for Ashley. it was a chance worth taking. Going on tour with Beyoncé changed Ashley’s life. For over nine years she has toured the world with Beyoncé. From the iconic Superbowl performance this year, to a catalog of memorable videos, Ashley has fiercely lead the formation of the phenomenal group of dancers who comprise Beyonce’s dance team. As she gets ready to begin The Formation Tour, Ashley shared what it takes to be a successful dancer and what she’s learned from Beyonce.
PYNK : Ashley, how old were you when you started dancing?
AE: When I started dancing, I was two and a half going on three. My third class was a ballet class.
PYNK: And your mom just inspired you to dance?
AE: Yeah, you know, I was so young, my mom put me in dance class like, “Oh, let’s just see if she likes it,” and I was so focused, and I loved it. I felt like I was in the right place. It was so natural for me.
PYNK: What types of discipline did it take for you to get where you are now ? Can you tell other aspiring dancers what steps you took to really make it the way that you did?
AE: Of course with success comes sacrifice and I sacrificed a lot. Ever since I can remember I’ve always been in dance class. Straight after school, I would go to dance class—everyday. That was my life. I missed out on school dances, trips, football games―you know the normal kind of kid things―just because I was always in dance class or always competing and getting ready for a performance. I was always, always, always at the dance studio. Just working so hard for it. And then when I was 16, you know, I’m from a small town in Northern California. I just felt like I needed more opportunities and more doors to open in a bigger city. So, that’s when my parents decided that New York was probably the best move for me! So they up and moved with me so I could pursue my dreams.
That was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because if I didn’t go to New York, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I’ve had and I probably wouldn’t be here today.
PYNK: Amazing! So your entire family just moved so you could pursue your dream?
AE: Well, my mom moved with me. But, my parents are still married and were married at the time, so they sacrificed their relationship and I have a brother too, so my brother and dad stayed back at home and me and my mom moved to New York just for me.
PYNK: So, for all the young dancers there, what are two other things you would say they need to become successful? You’ve already talked about discipline—could you just list two more?
Discipline, hard work, and dedication. You can’t give up just because you miss one note, two notes, three notes, four notes.
You have to stick with it even though this industry is telling you “No, you can’t” or “You’re not this and you’re not that” or “You’re not skinny enough” or “You’re not pretty enough”. You know, we’re always going to hear that.
PYNK: Have you had to deal with rejection throughout your career and do you still go on auditions?
AE: I still go on auditions and I still will go on auditions. You know, a lot of people think once you make it to a certain status, or whatever, like “Oh, you’ll probably never have to audition.” But, I will audition. If I’ve never worked for somebody before, I have to auditioned for them. I guess getting “known” a little bit more has helped, but I still have to fight for a job too. It’s just part of the industry (getting rejected) so that just comes with it. It builds you up and gives you tough skin.
PYNK: What have you learned from Beyonce?
I’ve learned to always work hard from Beyonce and to always continue to push myself. She’s never comfortable or like ‘I’m on top,’ she’s always trying to outdo herself. Like how she dropped a whole album with no promos and shot secret videos for every one of them, best believe she’s going to outdo that.
I think that’s incredible and I just feel like if we all do that, we’ll all succeed somehow, some way.
Memories from videos?
Run the World?
For “Run The World” the first take was nerve-breaking. When you’re dancing in sand and wardrobe, your shoes can be difficult to move in. There’s always something that makes it harder than just working in a rehearsal studio. After that first take, you’re like, “Okay, we just gotta thug it out and get through it.”
Heaven, in which you co-starred in?
This was so amazing and incredible. We shot parts in South America and in Times Square, New York. We drove through Times Square, too. That’s where I’m the driver in the car, and people were like going crazy. We had a car in front of us and a car behind us with cameras so they clearly knew we were shooting something. We didn’t have a license to be shooting so, of course, we’re drawing all this chaos and attention in the middle of Times Square. The cops were like, ‘What’s going on?’ We got pulled over and the officer is like, ‘Miss, may I see your driver’s license?’ My driver’s license was in the trailer and me and Beyoncé are sitting there like, “We’re going to jail.”
Amidst all of her success Ashley remains humble and diligent through her journey, never taking for granted where she comes from and where she is now. Make sure you check her out on The Formation Tour!#PYNKGirlApproved