Ballerina Profile: Ashley Daily

Ashley and DrueWhen did you start doing ballet as an adult?

I started taking ballet class just 2 months ago.

Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

I *think* I took ballet for a single class when I was around 5 years old. The only reason I have to suspect this happened is a single picture of me in a basic ballet leotard, tights and slippers. But I might also have been just “dressing up”. So, I honestly don’t know.

Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

This is such a great question! I wanted to try taking ballet when I was around 10-12 but my sister was trying out ballet and I didn’t want to encroach on her territory, so I did gymnastics instead. I am friends with a whole bunch of dancers and I’ve always admired their grace and poise. After having my third child, I desperately needed something to DO that would get me out of the house, away from my duties for just a moment and allow me to become the floaty-beautiful-perfect-ballerina-princess I have always wanted to try to be. I thought at first that I was too old. Surely, I thought, my time has come and gone. There certainly cannot be a class that will take me as I am: still fluffy from being pregnant, bad hips, endless ambition, no fear, and no experience. Yet, amazingly, a good dancer friend of mine pointed me in the right direction and I’ve absolutely loved every single minute of it!

Where do you take classes?

I take class in Lincoln Nebraska at Studio 2 under the very capable tutelage of Lindsay Fischer. It’s a small studio but the hard wood floors, exposed bricks and stone, and soaring ceilings give the studio such a unique character!

What is your favorite part about ballet?

My favorite part about Ballet is the finesse required. The solid determination to pursue a single movement to perfection. I love the discipline required. I am a classical pianist and I am amazed at the parallels between the two disciplines. Each finger has to be under control at all times, thought put into every note, knowing when, where and how to make the music your own while simultaneously belonging to everyone else. This lazer-focus on perfection appeals to me and so Ballet is a natural fit! The same principles apply: control, articulation, accentuation, dynamic, phrasing, performance. Attainable perfection! What a heady drug.

What is your least favorite part?

Grand Battement. Heavens how I struggle to do these with a bad hip.

Who/What is your ballet inspiration? I don’t want to sound pretentious, but my ballet inspiration comes from within. I truly have a desire to work hard, to master movement on a grand scale, to be a ballerina. I know I’m never going to be dancing professionally, but that’s not my goal: Simply put, I want to learn as much as I can about something I love without looking to an outward impetus. That said, one of my best friends, Sara, is a ballerina and I’d love to move like she does.

What motivates you to keep dancing?

Can one be motivated simply by love and devotion? Because if so, that’s my motivation. I’d love to go up en pointe eventually, but I recognize that’s probably many many many classes away for me- being fluffy and all. So I dance for the simple pleasure of moving my body to music.

Do you take any other dance classes?

I’ve never taken any other ballet classes. In college, I took a couple of Ballroom dancing classes and had a great time! But for some reason, colleges don’t let you major in Ballroom Dance!

What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

Well, I’m a mom! I love to play piano, long-distance run (although that’s not been possible for a couple of years with pregnancy and recuperation), cook!, eat!, be outside with my kiddos, swim.

What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?

It’s never too late! Ask a friend for support if you need it, but do it for yourself- that will give you the greatest pleasure of all.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Ballet has been a life-long dream for me and I feel so much joy when I get to dance, and even though I’m sure I look ridiculous, I’m so happy.

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