ROLE: Hip Hop Division Coordinator
Through my childhood, I performed with the Dynamic Studios performance troupes. I began dancing at DC in 2009, and represented Australia twice at the World Hip Hop Championships. Since 2015 I have been a member of Mercy Dance Crew, and we were awarded 1st place in Australia in 2016. I have trained at Australian Dance Camp under incredible choreographers such as Chris Martin, Sorah Yang, Caetlyn Watson, Larkin Poynton, CJ Salvador, Brian Puspos and Akanen Miyoshi. Recently I choreographed for international rock band Hands Like Houses.
I’ve been teaching since 2012, and started leading a crew at DC in 2015. Over the years I have been the crew leader of Ruthless, Mayhem, Creed, Envy, Mercy and Legacy.
Q&A with Ainsley
What got you into teaching?
When I was growing up I always looked up to my teachers. They were full of knowledge and wisdom, and were such positive influences on me. I wanted to start teaching so that I could share my passion for dance with students, and make my favourite hobby into my job!
What styles of dance do you teach?
My choreography is inspired by Hip Hop, Waacking, Vogue, Reggaeton, Dancehall, Krump and Popping. I currently lead our competition Hip Hop crew called Envy, and teach the occasional Hip Hop class.
What is your favourite group to teach?
I love teaching youth/teen classes. I see the most attention and willingness to learn in this age-group, which is always really nice as a teacher.
What is your style of teaching?
I am a friendly teacher who always tries to make training fun and interesting. But when crunch time rolls around, you’ll be working hard. There is no time for slacking off when we’ve got important competitions and performances to prepare for.
What inspires you when it comes to choreographing?
Music is my inspiration. The vibe of a song always directs how my choreography turns out and I believe in letting the music drive the movement. I also get massive inspiration from other choreographers around Australia and New Zealand – the quality of choreography that they produce is crazy.
What do you love most about dance?
I think dance can be a great emotional channel and method of storytelling. You can use dance to express your emotions, OR you can embody a whole new persona. The freedom, creative outlet and confidence I get when dancing is like nothing else. Dance has taught me how to be organised and responsible, especially regarding school work. It’s taught me how to stay focused and motivated. Most of all, dance has taught me to be confident in myself! To be original and creative in the dance industry first requires that you’re happy with who you are.
What do you love most about teaching?
There is nothing better than seeing my students work really hard to achieve something that they thought they’d never be able to do. When they master a skill, or perfect a piece of choreography, or kill off a solo moment – that makes me so incredibly proud. Seeing their dedication pay off is so special.
What are your top tips for students to get the most out of class?
Push yourself! When you’re training hard, dance can be physically and mentally exhausting. You not only have to remember hundreds of details about your intricate choreography, you also have to dance and perform with all your energy, strength, and enthusiasm. Overcoming tiredness and pushing yourself to keep going can be extremely challenging, but it will be the number one thing you need to succeed.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is definitely antipasto platters… Give me meat, cheese and olives and I’m a very happy chap.
What’s your favourite quote?
“Work hard in silence and let your success make all the noise”
Where would you go on your dream holiday?
I’ve always wanted to travel to Canada! I just have a feeling I’ll love it, and I’d also get to meet extended family. But I wouldn’t say no to an island escape to Mauritius or the Maldives.