classically-trained dancer instructor & choreographer
Ballet-Tap-Jazz-Hip Hop-Contemporary-Lyrical-Praise & Worship
Since just 4 years old, Ashley Harper has been led by her own heart, passion, creativity and rhythm to master the art of all dance. Her ongoing successes as a lifelong diversified and classically trained dancer and instructor on stage, camera, film, and theatre are most notably reputable and as of her recent opportunities, exponential. Ashley worked the entire filming of season one of YouTube Red and dance legend executive producer, Debbie Allen’s, “Step Up: Highwater,” starring NBC World Of Dance Judge, Neyo. Ashley played one of the core high school students at the dance infused fictional high school academy where she was a featured “crush” of the antagonist on the show; and was even on the school’s “prom court” among many other memorable dance choreographed moments throughout the season. Ashley was recognized for her work and cast as the star in the riveting spiritual and emotional theatre stage play, “Leaping Forward: Leaving The Past Behind;” where Ashley performed as an actress and dancer on stage live and concluded the show with a harrowing soloist praise and worship lyrical dance performance as the scene grabbing grand finale’s climatic crescendo.
Ashley’s dance history begins in preschool with her very first recital’s ballet performance to “Candle On The Water.” At 7 years old, hungrier for a deeper-rooted meaning of the dance art outside of classes, she began joining her Momager on trips to the library and her mother noticed that she would check out more than just children’s literature. Ashley checked out books and videos about ballet, training, conditioning, and the history of the finest dancers in the world. She studied and practiced vigorously and independently for her upcoming pageant competitions and ultimately choreographed and designed her very first solo piece; a ballet to “Dance Of The Little Swans,” by Tchaikovsky; her favorite classical composer and inspired by her studies from favorite piece in, “The Nutcracker.” She won locally, state, and nationally with that piece and soon excitedly began searching for the next step higher in dance training. At 9 years old, she enrolled in Lehman Studios in Raleigh, North Carolina under the instruction and productions of the late John Robert Lehman; founder of The North Carolina State Ballet. She attended classes for ballet, jazz, tap, and pointe while participating in many of the company’s recitals including “Winnie The Pooh,” where she performed a small group ballet feature as “The Acorns.”
It was during this time that Ashley’s beauty pageant career simultaneously began blossoming on the state and national level. Ashley began taking a particular liking to the vogue style of choreographed runway/dance/fashion modeling that the competitions offered and exceled instantly. She was able to sharpen her movement and expertise all around through these kind of pageants on the national circuit. At 13, she won Overall Majestic at Sensational Miss North Carolina State Pageant after debuting her self-choreographed lyrical dance interpretation to Sandi Patti’s, “Via De La Rosa.” She soon after branched into her entrepreneurial spirit and years of dance experience to begin coaching youth in pageantry, singing, and dance; in which she named her coaching services, “Ashley’s Ace’s.” The summer prior to 8th grade, she took it upon herself to try out, for the first time in her life, for the cheerleading squad. Ashley knew that there were many similarities in cheer and dance. But she soon learned that they were nearly synonymous because she made Captain on her very first try at North Garner Middle School!
Ashley continued her busy schedule of competing in pageants, cheer, and dance competitions upon entering high school and continued cheering as a freshman with her team commencing as state runners-up. Ashley then took a break from cheering, but never from dance. She enrolled in Turning Pointe Dance Academy in Clayton, North Carolina introduced by her longtime pageant mentor’s Mrs. Brendee Phillips to teacher and daughter Kasey. Quickly acclimating to her new dance home, Ashley was quickly moved to advanced level classes of hip hop, jazz, ballet, and tap. She participated in many performances with the company including recitals in which she was in a group jazz performance of “Freakazoid,” and a group tap performance of “Pennies From Heaven.” Upon entering college, Ashley trained and conditioned extra hard and made the cheerleading squad at North Carolina Central University. She trained, competed, cheered, and danced all over the state and campus as well as for all home football and basketball games under her coach Aja and head coach Luanne Edmonds. Ashley was chosen as a student ambassador studying abroad during her senior year to the United Kingdom, and was offered an official spot on Glasgow, Scotland’s national professional dance team, the Glasgow Rockettes.
Moving to Colorado after college, Ashley sought to spread her wings even farther in dance by diversifying her creative portfolio. She was featured in a choreographed funky jazz piece by Janrace Prudent for RAW Artists Denver Artist Showcase. Ashley competed in the 75th Annual Miss Colorado America Pageant and was chosen to be on the front line for the exhilarating, non-stop opening number presentation; selected from previous dance choreography experience. After her pageant career retired, she moved into her artistic singing and songwriting career that then created a need for, you guessed it, DANCE! She was fortunate to meet and work with award winning choreographer and dancer Valencia Hill, alongside auditioned dancers to delve up a new groove to match her new sound. Ms. Hill is a B.E.T. 106 & Park Hip Hop Dance Crew Champion; and is credited for choreographing Ashley’s live music performance pieces as well as the music videos accompanying including, “Came A Long Way.”
Upon relocating to the “New Hollywood” production mecca of Atlanta in 2016, she has since remained consistent in training, conditioning, productions, choreography, and work with the FOX’s “Star,” as one of her features to show. Ashley can be seen strutting her runway dance choreography in season one, episode five. She also utilized her dance chops on the show often as a stand-in for Keke Palmer; whose character is a high energy, dancing, pop star. Ashley’s passion for new learning opportunities and commitment to the art continues on today with her current enrollment at Dance Stars Atlanta with her amazing new choreographer leading, Kei Jackson. It is clear that Ashley Harper is dancing her way not only through her professional stage career, but into our hearts as her years of tenacity and endurance to the essence of real, classically-trained, dance propels her to all new exciting heights!