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Check Out Ashley Claybrook’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Claybrook.

Hi Ashley, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I grew up dancing in Columbia, MO where I began my dance journey at Columbia Performing Arts Centre. I have been a dancer for 22 years training in various styles of dance. I grew up loving all arts but found a beautiful passion for teaching, choreographing and a love for mentoring young artists. I began my choreography journey at a very young age with the help of my mentors, Jen Lee and Ashley L. Tate.

When I first moved to St. Louis, I was bright-eyed and ready to explore all that the city had to offer in the dance world. I started dancing with the Ashleyliane Dance Company in the Junior Training Program at age 17. The following year I was asked to join The Professional Company; where I performed in a plethora of performances in the St. Louis community and ADC produced Dance Concerts for a little over 10 years. I had the honor of serving as the Assistant Director and Contributing Choreographer for the ADC Junior Training Program for many years. This is where my true passion for Directing/Mentoring blossomed.

I have worn many hats in the dance industry as many artists do. I have taught many masterclasses, worked with dancers from multiple studios and traveled to share my love of dance with many. In 2018, I had the huge honor of purchasing my current business, DPU Dance. I taught at DPU for many years prior to owning the studio and am incredibly grateful for my three years as the Owner/Artistic Director in my long time home. I am very humbled by the overwhelming support of the dance community along this journey.

I am unbelievably honored to teach so many wonderful students and I have gained so much on this adventure as the Artistic Director of DPU Dance. I have beautiful plans in store for the progression of the studio. DPU Dance, as a community, is striving for inclusivity and creating a safe space for our artists and clientele.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No path is ever a walk in the park but as humans, we can always take in the beauty surrounding that walk.

Like every business owner will tell you – there are good days and there are less than ideal days. I have taken a very serious stance on appreciating every little obstacle, bump or smudge along my path. These moments can really open the doors for extremely positive, beautiful successes or simply a lesson to be learned for the future. I choose to see that beauty in struggle; knowing every human is experiencing their own tribulations and I approach obstacles in my journey with a kind, open minded outlook. This has been an impactful way of seeing the world we live in.

My journey with its beautiful bumps has made me who I am today. I am grateful and humbled for the people who have given me the strength and support to be myself.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As a choreographer who is learning to be an Owner and Artistic Director, my goal is to provide a safe, inclusive space for young artists to grow while maintaining a strong dance foundation for our students. I have a beautiful passion for dance and watching how the power of dance can change someone’s life.

I am most proud of the home we have built. Our dancers have multiple programs in all levels to create an open environment for everyone to be successful in their dance journey. I believe dance is for everyone; it is the most beautiful activity to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time.

I have worked very hard to create a space/vision to be proud of and I believe I am coming into my own as an Artistic Director and Leader. Adaptability, accountability and an open mind have been and I truly believe will be the most important tools to my business’ success. If I have learned anything over the last three years as an Owner, it is that you will not be everyone’s cup of tea but you can learn and grow from every situation you are faced with.

Something I love about working with the public is the chance to make a positive impact in my community. We have great power within all of us to make a difference whether that is something minimal or on a grander scale. I have truly taken the time to appreciate the small scale things in our world.

My goal is to put the humanity back into the dance community one student at a time. I adapt, hold myself accountable and keep an open mind to ensure our community is safe, seen and heard.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Russo Photography

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