Ashley Everett: Dancing With The Stars
Her signature look has become the big red curly afro. She’s THE lead dancer and dance captain for Beyonce. In addition to music videos, you’ve probably seen her on commercials, film, and television. She’s 24-year-old dance sensation Ashley Everett, born and raised in Chico, California.
Dance has been an elaborate part of Everett’s life since she was a toddler. Her mother put her in dance classes at the tender age of two and she’s loved every bit of it ever since. “My mom definitely pushed me and inspired me a lot. She was always in the entertainment industry too and she would help push me and convince me I was good enough to make it a career and a profession. But I knew when I was young, I just felt it, I knew that was what I was meant to do,” explained Everett.
Nearly eight years ago marked a pivotal point in Everett’s career because it marks the event on her timeline where she joined Beyonce’s group of performers. Dance is the only job she’s ever held and her passion for it has gotten her recognition in so many aspects of her career. Everett has had parts in film, television and commercials and her knack for entertaining an audience whether live or televised makes it difficult for her to choose one form of media she adores most. There is one quality she truly appreciates about live performances though.“ I love a good big audience. Tour life is great because every night you get the energy from the whole audience and it’s amazing,” she said. However, she admits that she likes the on-camera performances as well because there’s room for repetition, which makes for a near perfect execution on-screen. Everett also cherishes her on-camera experiences because she appreciates the fact that her talents will be showcased for generations and beyond. “Film and cinematography and stuff lasts forever and that’s something that is really really great and really special to me. It’ll last longer than I’m alive and my kids and my grandkids and their kids and their grandkids can always see me and that’s what creates your legacy,” she said.
Although dancing comes just as naturally to Everett as breathing, she admits that she does get nervous sometimes but made mention of one specific time. “I think the last time I felt nervous was probably the Superbowl because that was the biggest performance of my life—of Beyonce’s life and Beyonce has done some huge performances but it was the biggest performance that any of us had ever done because those were the most eyes watching us ever. Not just in the super dome but TV- period,“ she said.
“I tell everybody I felt like I was at a family reunion or a wedding or something ya know. People had their shoes off and everybody was sweating, Michelle was sweating, Obama was sweating and he and I battled each other and Michelle pulled me to dance with her and me and her daughter were going in. It was just like a family affair—it was fun,” explained Everett as she excitedly talked about their performance for First Lady, Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday party at the White House. She felt blessed, honored, and accomplished to be a part of the first lady’s celebration. They performed three of Beyonce’s songs, Why Don’t You Love Me, Single Ladies, and Crazy in Love. Yet another amazing moment of her career and to top it off, this was her first time meeting President Barack Obama.
Beyonce is her first priority in the entertainment business but if she is free, she can definitely share her dance skills with other artists. Each artist has had a unique experience for Everett. She briefly describes how sharing the stage with the iconic Tina Turner was phenomenal. She just so happened to meet her sweetheart while working with NeYo. He’s a choreographer as well as creative director and so far they’ve managed to be extremely busy professionals while keeping their relationship going strong for what has now been three and a half years. She also mentioned how “crazy and cool” Flo-Rida is and how “he looks like this mean guy but he’s really like the sweetest teddy bear ever, he’s just huge.”
Of course there are a few artists Everett hasn’t gotten a chance to perform with but would love the opportunity to. If her idol, Janet Jackson, were still active in the industry, she would’ve enjoyed performing with her. She wishes she could’ve had a chance to share the stage with Michael Jackson as well. She would jump on the opportunity to dance with Justin Timberlake because “he’s a great performer and I think he appreciates dancers, not everyone does. A lot of people take advantage of dancers. He gives his dancers shine, like Beyonce does, and his choreography is incredible,” she said. She did have a chance to perform with Ciara and mentions how much she enjoyed dancing with her. “People see me as Beyonce’s dancer, the girl who dances sexy and wears heels or whatever, but a lot of people don’t know that I grew up doing hip hop too so I like to show the grimy side and I like to put sneakers on or boots or whatever and dance around,” admitted Everett.
Everett hopes to spend her entire career in the entertainment industry. She’s only in her 20’s and already planning for when she can no longer dance due to an aging body that would prevent her from doing what she can currently do. “I could definitely do the creative direction thing, I love to give other people opportunities. I love auditioning new talent and giving them the chance to prove themselves and experience things that I might have done. Somebody believed in me at one point to give me my first job and I like to do that for other people,” said Everett. Creative Directing entails seeing the big picture and helping to bring it to life, bringing in different choreographers for different things that they are appropriate for, and a few other behind the scene tasks that one would never know goes into the making of a production. Everett also wants to explore acting and eventually would like to have her own clothing line.
When Ashley has free time, she loves sleeping her morning away, indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and enjoys all things water. For example, going to the pool, ocean, or beach. She also appreciates her leisure time when she can go shopping, treat herself to a spa day, get her hair done and go to the movies.
Many think Everett is a very serious person and not nice based on what they’ve seen stage, in videos or what they’ve seen on TV. However, she admits that she’s the furthest thing from that fierceness you associate her with from her performances. ”I’m goofy, I’m stupid, I’m like a tomboy all dressed in all sweats and a hoodie and a beanie and look like a dude and not be like a girlie girl in heels all the time. I don’t’ take myself or life too seriously; I’m not one of those people. I just am like “You only live once” YOLO!” she laughs.
Although very much so in the public’s eye, Everett still has her privacy and tends to be caught off guard when someone actually recognizes her because she still sees herself as just an average person.
Everett is currently on tour and she’s working with the team to help revamp the classic Showgirls show in Vegas. It’s a bit old fashioned so they’re updating it and making it more urban, adding more texture and more depth because it’s been running for over 30 years. They will re-open in March.
“Its’ been an amazing whirlwind of incredible experiences and emotions,” Everett happily chuckles as she tries to put her career into words.