We ask all our dancers what their one favorite choreographer/piece was during their time with us. It’s hard to pick just one but that’s what makes that “one” spectacular. Their reasons are many like challenging and unique choreography, they feel like they’re being trained, they felt awesome dancing the choreo, the choreographer cares aobut the dancers, it was so hard but they got the counts in the end, etc. One of our beloved dancers, Or, responded to our question, “with no doubts, Gabriel Ash. It’s always a dance surprise.” The second time she came to L.A. she told everyone to take Gabriel’s class. Next, as dance captain for our Summer Dance in L.A., program she made it mandatory to try his class for our group. Then as dance captain for our 18+ dancer program launch, his classes were always on the schedule. Thanks, Or!
Gabriel Ash has been one of our dancers’ favorites because they are always surprised at what new choreography he will create, because it’s always different, fresh and challenging.
So who is Gabriel Ash?
Gabriel hails from Pittsburgh and has been involved in the arts from Rogers Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts and then to high school at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts. He went on to study dance education at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. From there he went on to create his own dance company, KG Dynasty, and now works at Millennium Dance Complex, Immaspace and other L.A. studios. He continues to travel around the world teaching, choreographing and educating young artists.
To get to know him better, we asked some questions we all were curious to know.
Your dance seems to have started in middle school. When did you take your first dance class?
Well.. .My first actual dance class ever was actually my audition for Rogers Middle School for The Creative And Performing Arts in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA , in 1998. I was always a kid that loved to dance and sing, so in elementary school I was in chorus and I would always get the dace parts for the shows and do the school talent shows. My music teacher at the time, Mr. Wayne Walters, noticed this about me and suggested that I go to school for dance at Rogers. I had never done ballet or jazz or anything like that. I was a street kid so I was just doing me, like the butterfly, the bounce, the creep, the moonwalk, the running man and all the video dances of the late 80s and 90s. So when i show up at this audition and the first part of the audition was ballet!!??!! I literally panicked , then on to Jazz where I probably almost fainted and didn’t have any idea of what the hell I was doing, but i defiantly went for it because that’s just how I was raised. By some grace of the savior, I got into the school and the rest is history. So yeah that was my first ever real dance class.
You’ve trained in ballet to hip hop. How have you incorporated your diverse training into your classes?
Being trained in all styles , I have always been told it shows through out my choreo and style. I love to do a lot of stuff that has turns or some weird type of quick spin where you have to spot. I defiantly do a lot of it subconsciously, but its in there and I, actually proud of my style and lane, because of all the training I am able to change up quickly even with the style of hip hop i am trying to give for that particular piece.
Do you have a favorite style of dance?
I actually have two favorite styles of dance Hip-Hop Movement and Contemporary will always have my heart and be a part of my life.
What made you decide to move to Los Angeles?
There were many reasons why I made the move to LA. I’ll give a few. One being I just literally was just ready for a change, a lot was going on in my personal life, my dance career and training was stagnant. I truly just wanted so much more for myself and waned to train again. So LA ended up being where I fell which was so crazy because before that I NEVER wanted to go. It was Rhapsody James and Motivating Excellence Training Program that changed my life. Proud to be a Season 4 Alumni. it was that program that was in LA that had such a impact on me that after I didn’t want to leave LA. So I made it home, but I also said I wouldn’t move unless I was signed first.
What was your first L.A. teaching job?
My first LA teaching job was for a small competition studio named “Relieve” that an old friend hooked me up with teaching Hip-Hop and contemporary when I first got out here and still was trying to figure it out. I was all types of jacked up in life, so it didn’t last very long LOL! that was about 4 years ago now though. We all good over here.
How did you get signed by your agency?
I got signed to Bloc LA after my first month being in LA, I reached out to them after Rhapsody’s program to submit, and actually two things had happened. Before actually submitting I had spoke with Chuck Maldonado, because a friend had suggested it , so we spoke and I went to his class and after we spoke and he gave me a referral to Bloc, but when I went in for my interview, I had found out they actually were already looking for and interested in me after the Motivating Excellence Showcase for Rhapsody because all the agencies come to her showcase usually. So yeah, I was signed like that. It was pretty dope for real. I felt like a superstar. LOL!
Can you describe your style of dance? Our dancers have always said your classes are always a surprise, an awesome dance treat.
My style of dance I would say is your, ” Feel Good No Matter What, and Fun” style of dance. I never know what type of piece I’m going to do I love the fact that dancers come to my class and are always like we didn’t see that one coming but they still love it and had fun and enjoyed dancing it and didn’t feel too stressed. In my class you’re gonna dance and you’r egonna sweat and you’re going to feel good, I do my best to make sure of it.
Any advice for dancers new to L.A.?
I always give the same advice to new dancers coming to LA and wanting to be in this mix of social media LA classes, and industry, and that is to just NEVER forget why you started dancing in the first place. LA and for real and major dance city is tough but LA is a different type of beast and if you’re not strong you will be broken and forget who you are and why you started dancing in the first place. Which is your heard something that gave you a good feeling and you started to move for YOURSELF and it felt good. It’s supposed to feel like that. And for me once that feeling is gone I will leave this industry. So yeah just to never forget who you are and don’t forget why you started dance and what it does for you because no one should ever be able to take that initial feeling from you. So get in those rooms with closed doors, blast that music and dance for you.
Class pet peeves? What should every dancer do in class besides dance hard and have fun?
My class pet peeves are not answering me back when I address the class. Asking questions that you could easily get just by watching a few times. Like try first before you ask something that’s so simple, and I mean simple. Also if you mess up don’t walk off the floor. Recover or try to recover and get through it.
In class besides just taking class and having fun, you should always be focused and taking whatever you’re learning and finding a way to apply it somewhere else in your path. Class is always for learning it’s way more than steps. It truly is.
What’s coming up for you?
I have a lot of things coming up this year, Creative Director for the IMX/Marques Houston Reunion Tour, of course my classes at Millennium Dance Complex, and ImmaSpace. Doing another Europe Teaching Tour, releasing actual concept videos, but the biggest thing I’m excited for is I’m finally opening a Dance Studio in my hometown of Pittsburgh PA.
Anything you’d like to add or highlight?
Just never forget who you are, we are all great in our own way.