Ashleigh Kiven: Finding Your Artistry
“When dancers just do steps, it’s too perfect. I want dancers to show who they are as individuals, to get a little dirty. It’s about taking risks to find out who you are.” – Mia Michaels.
Mia Michaels is an international icon in the dance industry renowned for promoting individuality and self-discovery via movement. Most dancers dream of meeting her, but for Aussie’s Ashleigh Kiven it was her reality.
After graduating from Patrick Studios Australia (PSA) in both the Dance stream and Musical Theatre stream, Ashleigh Kiven, 27, needed a breath of fresh air. She travelled 16,000km to find her new dose of oxygen—New York City on the upper west side to be exact. With Steps On Broadway dance center at her doorstep and Luigi’s Jazz Centre around the corner, Ashleigh found solace in observing the dancers walk in and out of these buildings—as if she was back in her element at PSA. Ashleigh joined them by glissading into Luigi Jazz Centre with as much jazz-hand spirit as you can possibly imagine.
Ashleigh was taking classes and auditioning around the clock. On her journey, she had the honour of assisting the legendary Emmy award-winning Mia Michaels, best known from the television hit series So You Think You Can Dance. Mia not only showed Ashleigh how to be a great dancer but guided her to find her own artistry as a performer.
“I absolutely love Mia and have been so fortunate to have her as a mentor. She really showed me what it means to be an artist and to break boundaries; to explore the unknown territory. In doing this scary thing, you can really find your strength and power,” said Ashleigh, smiling.
“Working with her, I was able to start my journey as an artist.”
Prior to moving to New York City, Ashleigh piled up some professional credits including performing as a dancer in Paul Malek and Kim Adam’s award-winning production Your’s Truly. Ashleigh acknowledged that working on this piece with some of Melbourne’s best choreographers was a truly special moment for her.
“It was such a special experience; the narrative was gripping and it was a chance for me to really combine my two loves of dance and storytelling,” said Ashleigh.
She also performed in the Stage Art Australian premiere production In The Heights and the Australian version of Elmo’s World Tour.
Above all her credits and big venture to the Big Apple, nothing stings like the social sacrifice of family and friends back home in Melbourne. That is one of the tough realities of being a performer. However big the sacrifice, Ashleigh has kept on her journey of finding her artistry.
If you are in Manhattan, you can catch Ashleigh in Disney’s production of Newsies The Musical, directed and choreographed by Marcos Santana (Broadway’s On Your Feet!, In the Heights and Guys and Dolls).
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