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A Dream Turned Reality:

"As far back as I can remember, I've been wanting to start my own dance company."

A place where I can share my love for dance and creative ideas with children - in this case my future students. This dream of mine may have taken longer than expected, but it only makes me even more grateful and excited for the years to come. With these new beginnings, I thought it would be fun to share and embrace my past. Here is my dance journey, posted right here, on our brand new company blog page...Enjoy!

I was fortunate enough to study under some truly gifted teachers and many of them changed me for the better. That inspires me to do the same for the next generation.

The very first studio I ever attended was Golden’s School of Dance under the ownership of MaryAnn Golden. I was 4 years old. It was here at Golden’s that I learned my first competition dance and competed on stage. I loved it. Dancing and competing would be forever in my heart. I am grateful to my parents for enrolling me in dance and to MaryAnn for being my very first teacher.

I took ballet very seriously and trained at the prestigious Faubourg School of Ballet. There I studied with ballet masters Watamora Casey and Avnun Yakabov. Both of these teachers set the expectations of discipline and technical correctness very high. Strict ballet instruction from these two highly regarded teachers made a world of difference in my training. For this, I am grateful and dedicated to elevate the level of ballet instruction and technique to high standards at Artistry Dance & Co.

My dance training would continue at Moves Dance Studio under the direction of Kimberly Farrah. Ms Kim and Ms Nicki Del Ray Masino, were the first teachers I had ever meet that exuded joy and kindness. You could not help but smile and feel good about yourself in their classes. I hope to mimic this kindness in my teaching.

After Moves I went on to dance at Midwest Movement under the direction of Ted Jackson. Ted was, and still is a very talented artist. He had a unique and original style of dance and taught his dancers to be creative and courageous with their abilities. This was great training for me and helped me to develop my own passion for the art of dance and for the creative vision that comes with the Arts. While at Midwest Movement, I was one of the youngest on the team. This helped build my confidence as I was surrounded by very encouraging and supportive senior dancers. I hope to make Artistry Dance & Co an environment such as this.

Perseverance Dance Company would be my final home has a competition dancer. Perseverance, under the direction of Missy Ridgway, taught me so much about passion and hard work. There is no other teacher in the world that worked as hard as Missy. She pushed every dancer to be their very best. To this day my passion for dance and for teaching continues to grow and I hope to pass this on to every Artistry dancer.

While competing as a young dancer, I was lucky enough to attend many dance conventions. These conventions played a huge role in shaping my passion for dance. Taking from the variety of talented and professional dancers and choreographers is still something that influences me today. These teachers, including, Mark Meismer, Jackie Sleight, Joe Malone, Joe Lanteri, Dee Caspary, and Mia Michaels elevated my love and commitment to dance. I am extremely grateful for every dance teacher- especially the ones above. It is a daily goal of mine to honor these amazing people by taking what they gave to me and giving it back to the dancers of Artistry Dance & Company.

Looking forward to what's ahead,

Jo Ashton


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