ESSENCE.com’s “New and Next” column spotlights the brightest new talents we think you should know.
This week we meet dancer Ashley Everett who is currently on tour with Beyoncé. We caught up with the California native who danced in Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” video to find what it’s like working alongside Queen Bey and how she prepares for performances on ‘The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.’
ESSENCE: What has it been like to work in the studio and on stage with Beyoncé?
ASHLEY EVERETT: It’s been nothing but amazing. She’s such an inspiration and a hard worker. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does and makes me and everyone else around her work just as hard. There’s nothing like her fans too. When we go to concerts people scream my name too. It’s incredible.
ESSENCE: What’s the dancers’ relationship with Beyoncé? Is it completely professional or do you guys hang out?
EVERETT: It’s definitely a professional relationship. We don’t hang out like that but it’s very cool and she’s so down-to-earth. She doesn’t always act like she’s working when she’s around. I’ve been around her when we’re just trying to figure things out in the studio and we’ll literally sit there for two hours watching YouTube videos to get some ideas and we’ll mess around and sit back down and talk. She’s like a friend and big sister to me, but it’s still a professional relationship.
ESSENCE: Is there a strict diet or a workout plan that the dancers have to be on?
EVERETT: No, we don’t have to be on a strict diet. We all try to eat right, stay in shape and be healthy. I try to eat healthy. I have days where I slip but I eat salads and I love sushi. Beyoncé loves sushi too and we all just eat healthy. I don’t necessarily work out on top of dancing, unless I have a month off, then I’ll go to the gym.
ESSENCE: What happens the day of a huge performance?
EVERETT: If it’s a huge performance like London, LA Staple Center or Madison Square Garden, we usually go to the venue really early and rehearse and do sound check. Once we’re done we go to our dressing rooms and get our hair and makeup done to get ready for the show. I personally like to sneak out during the opening act and peak out to see what the audience is like and how the energy is feeling. I like to get a little adrenaline rush before I get dressed then we all meet and have a prayer circle before we hit the stage.
ESSENCE: What’s the most memorable thing that’s happened to you while dancing with Beyoncé?
EVERETT: The whole “Single Ladies” process because it became one of the world’s biggest videos. Thinking back on it and about the opportunity to still work with her to this day is amazing. I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love.
ESSENCE: What advice would you give an aspiring dancer?
EVERETT: I’d tell them to train as much as possible and take as many different dance styles as they can. It’s also important that they meet people and put themselves out there if they want to do this.
Catch Ashley Everett at the ESSENCE Fest this Sunday, July 7 as part of the “Mrs. Carter Show World Tour.”