Ashlee is a dance maker, performer and educator with strong interests in site-specificity and improvisation. Her work inhabits a space between instinct and intellect and often investigates concepts of place, communication and memory.
Ashlee was fortunate to gain pre-professional experience at QL2 Dance under Ruth Osborne and Vivienne Rogis. Working with Ruth, Vivienne and world class choreographers, Ashlee was exposed to the possibilities of a career in dance and was inspired to audition for tertiary study. During this time she performed with Elizabeth Cameron Dalman in Mirramu Dance Company and studied Bodenweiser technique, travelling to VCA to perform a remount of ‘The Blue Danube’ as part of a research project. During her own time at VCA, Ashlee returned each year to choreograph in QL2’s student works program ‘On Course’, and participated in graduate program ‘Soft Landing’ led by Amelia McQueen, Natalie Abbott and Solon Ulbrich in 2012.
'So, In Search of Sophia', Mirramu image by Barbie Robinson
At VCA Ashlee performed in works by Stephanie Lake, Rosalind Crisp, Sandra Parker, Rochelle Carmichael and Anna Smith. After graduating, Ashlee collaborated with peers to create and tour ‘Beyond Exhaustion’ to Melbourne, Sunshine Coast, Crack Theatre Festival Newcastle, Brisbane Fringe and Canberra’s You Are Here. She was invited to New Zealand by Anna Noonan to perform in two seasons of dance-theatre collaboration ‘Piccolo Cor’ and co-founded Menagerie Dance collective with her fellow VCA graduates. Ashlee was awarded an ArtStart grant from the Australia Council of the Arts, which enabled her to undertake professional development across Europe and the UK.
Ashlee’s interest in site-specific and non-conventional performance strengthened during her time in Europe. Each year for the next five years she was a contributing artist in Vivienne Rogis’ ‘Circling the Brink’ site-specific installation for the PAVE Festival (Emerald, VIC), where she developed her choreographic voice and improvisational vocabulary. She also performed in an experimental, multidisciplinary collaboration ‘Infundibular’, in which she danced with a huge, alien-like, inflatable set while the interactive projection design responded to her movements via a body sensor.
'Lake March', ADP
image by Lorna Sim Photography
As they grew geographically distant, Ashlee again collaborated with her peers to create ‘Far Flung’, utilising Skype and Google Hangouts to both create and perform the work. Originally performed at the Crack Festival in 2014, ‘Far Flung’ was remounted on dancers from QL2 Dance for You Are Here in 2015. Morphing into a workshop series for young dancers, Far Flung was delivered to schools in the Yarra Ranges (VIC) in 2017, culminating in a pen-pal style dance film choreographed by the students. Maintaining a strong connection with youth dance, Ashlee co-developed and led the co-curricular dance program at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School for six years, directing original, non-conventional performances and choreographing for big budget musicals each year.
Ashlee relocated to Canberra in late 2019, and has since performed in ‘Crone’ and ‘So, In Search of Sophia’ with Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, and choreographed ‘Concentricity’ for Canberra Dance Theatre at Art Not Apart. Ashlee is currently a party artist with Australian Dance Party and has performed in several works including ‘LESS’ and was commissioned by AusdanceACT and Canberra International Music Festival to choreograph ‘Hillscape’ as part of the 2023 Seeds of Life concert at the Arboretum. She is currently in residence at QL2 where she is researching methodologies for nourishing creative practice, and the first iteration of her new work ‘Implications’ was included in You Are Here’s 2023 Cahoots Lab.