Ashley Jack

Ashley Jack

Edinburgh, Scotland

ASHLEY JACKLet me just start off by saying that Edinburgh, Scotland is awesome. Now, I’ve always been a glass half full, silver lining kind of girl, but there is just something about being surrounded by the dainty sounds of nightly pub crawls and waking up in the morning, walking out of your hostel, and seeing a grand ol’ castle across the street. However, the best part (aside from eating Haggis on Burns Day) was the awesome dance studio, Dance Base, hidden among the row of shops and pubs along the main street. After dropping into her hip hop class, this was where I had the chance to meet fellow house dance head and artist-formally-known-as-prince enthusiast, Ashley Jack. Simply put, she’s INSERT SCOTTISH SLANG FOR FREAKING AWESOME!!!
She performs, teaches, choreographs, directs, and works hard to give back to her community and spread knowledge about Hip Hop culture. And she was willing to let me pick her brain about her experiences and journey with dance around the globe and the hip hop scene in Edinburgh.

‘To be an inspiration and a good role model is a very important thing to me. Dance can be a vulnerable thing to some people; if I can make that someone relax so much that they actually dance and have fun, I’m doing my job. Everyone should dance, it’s a universal language, and a great way to express.’

 

ADVICE : Love dance!! Get lost with the music, not with the crowd!

 

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DANCE : Being inspired by music, from a young age I could naturally express myself through movement and taught myself to dance. With help from music videos, I was able to take my talent further.

 

WHAT STYLE OF DANCE IS YOUR FAVORITE : At the age of 16, I found hip hop culture and focused on styles such as house, hip hop, vogue, funk styles, poppin’, lockin’, and more. Addicted to the history and how hip hop evolved I then started to travel, learning foundations and putting my own style and influences into my choreography and creating my own stories through movement.

 

WHAT IS SOME OF YOUR TRAINING AND PERFORMING EXPERIENCE : I was accepted into the Professional Stage Dance course at Telford College, Edinburgh, and gained my HND(Diploma). Training in styles such as ballet, contemporary, musical theatre, jazz and tap. However, my real passion lay within the hip hop scene.

I have trained and battled in the United Kingdom, France, Holland, New York, LA, Spain, and many other places, learning and working with the best……..the pioneers of hip hop.

I have also danced for artists such as Kelly Rowland, David Guetta, U2, and have been part of many TV commercials. Being based in Edinburgh again, my main focus is teaching and building the hip hop scene in Scotland. I also brought the first regular house class to Scotland in 2010 after being mentored by New York’s finest.

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROJECTS YOU ARE WORKING ON: I am the Artistic Director of Jackin’ the Box, a dance collective WHICH began in 2010 for female dancers with an interest in hip hop theatre. These Female dancers brought together from different dance backgrounds bring different techniques, strengths and styles to the group which form a great comedy value, quirkiness, and darkness to our audience members.

 JTB LOGOJackin’ the Box have performed in many theaters, events, and competitions across Scotland and England and are one of Scotland’s leading hip hop dance companies. We have won the Hip Hop choreography competition ‘Set it Off’ 2011 have performed in theaters such as Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Eden Court Theatre Inverness, Sadler Wells Theatre London, and many more. There is now a new young group stemmed from this……..the Mini Jackers!! I hope to continue to perform and am currently performing my solo across the UNIted kingdom this year as part of the Breakin’ Convention tour, Make or Break Theatre Night, and the biggest bboy/bgirl/theatre event in the UK, Just Jam!! My solo is based on a character of a sociopath! I was also selected as one of five choreographers, the first female, from across the UK to take part in Breakin’ Convention’s inaugural Back To The Lab course.

Being very involved with outreach work, the most important focus is building confidence and trust in people. Having worked in prisons, with women, young offenders, difficult teenagers/kids, people from different communities, and many other projects, I continue to learn, share knowledge, and inspire the people around me in dance.