An Interview with Zoe Ashe- Brown
Can you tell me a little about when and why you started dancing?
I started dancing when I was 6 years old. I joined the Debbie Allen school of Dance in Windy Arbor, mostly because I wanted to copy my older sister. I started with one lesson a week until it eventually progressed to full time training when I went to join The English National Ballet School in London aged 16
For you, what’s the most rewarding part about being a dancer? And what’s the hardest part?
There are two parts of this job that I think are immensely rewarding. The first one is of course performing. Nothing beats the feeling of getting onstage and expressing yourself, especially when you have gorgeous colleagues like the ones I have to share the experience with. It’s an amazing feeling. The second part is the exploration of your body in rehearsals. This is especially true during creation. It’s so rewarding to find a deeper understanding of your instrument and its capabilities. I’ve always found that I understand myself a little better after I’ve worked with a choreographer in a creation process.
What has been your favourite performance?
I have two! The opening night of Romeo and Juliet with The National Ballet of Ireland at the Gaeity theatre in 2010 and the performances I did with The Royal Ballet Flanders this year of Akram Khan’s Giselle.
What advice do you have for aspiring dancers?
There’s so much advice I would like to give but to condense it I would say it’s important to find a good, reputable dance teacher early in your training to establish a strong technical foundation from which you can grow from. Don’t compare yourself to everyone on social media, it’s a wonderful platform that can connect people with common interests but it can also be very toxic when used in excess. Try not to work purely for the validation of teachers and coaches, work for yourself! If you don’t give your own work any respect you leave yourself in a very vulnerable position when a teacher or ballet master starts to give their critique. It will leave you feeling miserable if you always rely on others to lift you up. I learned this lesson the hard way! Last piece of advice is to keep reminding yourself why you dance, if you’re in full time training and the school is tough and the stress is high go and take another class in your free time (maybe a style you don’t normally do, like jazz or commercial) to remind yourself why you do it!
What is your favourite So Danca products or why do you like the brand?
My favourite So Danca product is their soft ballet shoes. I changed my brand last year to SoDanca and found the material to be super comfortable but the shape was still extremely flattering. I wore them to two auditions last year and got both jobs, I think the shoes definitely helped!