Beyoncé’s Dance Captain on Blue, “Mrs. Carter” Tour
Beyoncé is an iconic figure known worldwide for her angelic voice, sizzling fashion style and seductive dance moves, but the nine ladies dancing in the back help Queen Bey pop even more. And the captain of this stellar dance-squad is Ashley Everett, 24, who just happens to be the youngest lady on the team and has been a driving force behind Bey for the past six years.
When the Mrs. Carter World tour stopped in Chicago, JET was able to sit down with Everett at the W-Hotel after her photoshoot. She shared how the journey has been so far, and even answered the question most of you are probably dying to know–what’s it like working with Queen Bey. The dancing diva even shed some information on baby Blue.
JET: You have a very impressive background. What were you doing before the opportunity to dance with Beyoncé was presented?
Ashley: I was living in New York and dancing at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and I was going down the whole concert dancer world.
JET: About how many girls auditioned?
Ashley: Oh my God, it was thousands because it was an open call. I went and auditioned and I had met her choreographer like two or three months prior to this audition just in the halls of Alvin Ailey and he stopped me and asked me if I danced. He had never seen me dance though. He just stopped me based on what I looked like, he was like, ‘You’re very pretty.’ I never saw him after that until this audition again and he remembered me. I just feel like that’s being at the right place at the right time, and fate too; I guess it was meant for me because he remembered me and he saw me dance and [Beyoncé] came and saw me dance. The rest is history.
JET: People kill for Julliard, right? How difficult was your decision when you had to choose between it and Beyoncé?
Ashley: It was really hard. I was on tour at the time, the tour was supposed to end like September first and then Julliard’s school was supposed to start like the fifth, or something like that so I was like, ‘This is perfect, it ends, and then I’m going to go to school,’ but then the tour got extended until December so I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what do I do?’
JET: How did you decide?
Ashley: I asked people like Frank Gatson (Beyoncé’s choreographer), who is like a mentor to me and I asked my mom and my family and everybody what they thought and they just told me to follow my heart and do what I felt was right and I felt at the time like, ‘Okay, since I’m on tour already and working as a professional I can keep doing this instead of going back to school and training, which I had been doing my whole life so that’s how I looked at it and that’s how I made my decision and it paid off.’ I don’t regret it. I do wonder what if I’d gone. My life would be so different.
JET: So what’s it like working with Beyoncé?
Ashley: It’s magical. It really is. I know that sounds so corny, but it’s so inspiring. She’s such an inspiration and such a hard worker, it makes everybody pull up and work just as hard as her. I’ve known her before the baby and before the marriage and all of that so before all she knew was work, like that’s all she did was work, work, work and now that Blue is here and she’s married and all of that, her priorities are a little different and she takes the time to have a day off and be with family and enjoy her baby and go on a vacation, which is nice. It gives us time off, too.
JET: What’s something that people who have never met her might not know about her just from seeing her in the media?
Ashley: She is a country girl. She’ll take her shoes off and run around barefoot. A lot of people think she’s like (*gestures with hands and holds her head up high*) this little proper pretty girl and she is that, too, but she’s also like country and she has a little hood in her.
JET: So what’s it like being on the Mrs. Carter World Tour? Is it different from the other tours?
Ashley: This one is different because she is Mrs. Carter now and she is a mom and like I was kind of saying before, you know, her priorities are a little different and it’s changed stuff like backstage and things with the show.
JET: Since having Blue, does it seem like she has had to work harder to prove that she still has it?
Ashley: I don’t think so. I think people probably think that, but I don’t think she’s had to and I don’t think she thinks she has to prove anything. She just is doing what she wants to do and I’m not mad at it.
JET: Have you met Blue Ivy, and if so, how would you describe her?
Ashley: Blue runs around rehearsals and at the venue. Beyoncé loves spending time with Blue. She’s really smart and she likes to dance. She’s a sweet little girl and she looks like her mommy and her daddy. And she’s smart. She sings and talks and walks and all of that.
JET: What’s your favorite Beyoncé song?
Ashley: That is hard. I love a lot of her ballads and mid-tempos. I think one of my favorites is “I Care” and I love “Resentment.” The ones where she’s really emotional, I like, but I love the up-tempos, too.
JET: What did you think of “Bow Down,” when it first came out? Were you surprised?
Ashley: I was. I was like ‘Oh, okay.’ I like that she’s taking risks and not caring what other people think. I know some people don’t like “Bow Down” but I like it. I like that she gets ‘gangsta.’
JET: What advice do you want to give to aspiring dancers?
Ashley: First and foremost, always follow your dreams because they are possible. I’m living one of mine now. If you want to be a professional dancer, I think it’s important to train as much as you can and get as many different styles in as you can. Take as many classes from different people and meet people. It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know a lot of the time in this industry, but what you know gets you there.