ARTISTIC DIRECTOR | CHOREOGRAPHER
With an emphasis on athleticism and humanism, McQueen approaches all aspects of her work with an artistic openness, clarity in communication, and joyful passion.
Ashley McQueen, Founder/Artistic Director of Smashworks Dance, is a New York City-based performer, choreographer, and teaching artist. She holds a BFA in Dance from Webster University and an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. She currently directs and choreographs for the NYC-based company Smashworks Dance, while performing as a company member with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre and teaching for Notes In Motion Outreach Dance Theatre. Hailed as “a dancer with the grace of a ballerina, the groundedness of an Isadora acolyte, and the impetuous musicality of someone who dances because she must” (Oberon’s Grove), McQueen has worked with choreographers such as Shawn T. Bible, Maurya Kerr, Jennifer Medina, Christine Knoblauch-O'Neal, Jennifer Huffman-Olivas, Omar Olivas, James Robey, Uri Sands, Amanda Selwyn, Michael Uthoff and Paris Wilcox; and performed as a company member with ShawnBibleDanceCo (NYC), Common Thread Contemporary Dance (STL), and Arova Contemporary Ballet (AL).
Her choreography has been commissioned by companies such as Big Muddy Dance Company, Arova Contemporary Ballet, Alabama Dance Theatre, Lake Arts Project, and Southern Danceworks; and presented at festivals such as Dance St. Louis Spring to Dance, Midwest RADFest, NYC Transit Museum (PLATFORM), Westfest Dance, St. Louis National Dance Week, RDA Serba Festivals, and American College Dance Festival. She was twice invited by ANNONYArts to independently choreograph and direct two evening length concerts and was named a Kranzberg Exhibition Series Guest Artist, where she choreographed Laune, a site-specific dance performance on rideable lawn mowers for Laumeier Sculpture Park. The work culminated in a film installation, Harmony in 3, by Zlatko Cosic that remained on exhibition through February 2016. For four years, she has choreographed/performed with Lake Arts Project Milwaukee, including War Words Dance - in collaboration with Feast of Crispian and Bright Hill Press (with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts).
McQueen's Smashworks Dance was named a Village Voice “Voice Choices" for their evening length performance of City Stories at Center for Performance Research, and her evening length political satire For Which It Stands - featured in Time Out NY and Brokelyn’s “Top 20 Cheap Things To Do” - toured to St. Louis in Fall 2018. In collaboration with Ana Lejava, McQueen launched Smashworks Advocacy, an organization dedicated to the integration of performing arts and social justice on the local, national, and international levels.
SMASHWORKS dance | MASTER CLASs
With an emphasis on artistic exploration, Contemporary with Ashley McQueen is a fusion of classical modern techniques, improvisational structures, and the athletic and musically-driven style of the New York-based company Smashworks Dance Collective. Dancers begin with a technical warm-up in the center, intermixed with improvisational moments that allow students to test physical boundaries while focusing on intention and dynamics. Class progresses across the floor with fast-paced floor work and full body movement. Finishing off in the center, dancers learn a phrase and explore the possibilities within it as McQueen creates space for variation, improvisation, and physical contact.
Photos by Christian Weyman Fotoschool, Orfeas Skutelis, Christopher Duggan, Stephen Delas Heras, Optik House, Gerry Love, and Steve Truesdell.