Happy Friday! Feeling inspired by yesterday's #InternationalWomensDay awareness and celebratory posts...and so, I'm overjoyed to bring you back to my blog as I celebrate a year in Las Vegas with a feature on the sensational Ashley Kemp!
Ashley is a breathtaking performer, stunning actress with an even more vibrant and generous soul. She is currently staring as the Dreamer in Steve Wynn’s production of Le Reve here in Vegas! Vegas locals if you haven’t seen the show yet, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a captivating evening of divine spectacle. Ashley’s storytelling through her dancing will steal your heart along with mind blowing circus, acrobat and diving acts that are not to be missed!
I first met Ashley four years ago in NYC working together on a choreographers showcase. It was a transitional time for us both and I couldn’t be more thankful to have our paths cross again here in Vegas...life is synergistically beautiful that way, isn’t it?!
The shoot: before my contract at The Metropolitan Opera began last November, Ashley and I snuck in a lovely afternoon of shooting in the arts district. Her radiant joy and piercing talent are palpable through these shots! We had an absolute ball exploring and shooting against the bright architectural backdrops. Afterwards, I knew I wanted to catch a couple of her with a red rock sunset in the background, so we raced west and were able to wrap our shoot with Ashley dancing toward the sunset.
Keep reading below to see more of this wonderful woman’s radiance!
Meet Ashley: Hello there! My name is Ashley Kemp and I was born and raised in Chesterfield, Virginia. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Dance Performance from University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Throughout my career I have worked as a dancer/aerialist in Hong Kong Disneyland, a dance captain on Holland America Line cruises, a dancer/singer in Atlantic City's Almost Angels cover band, and a judge for UDA regional and national competitions. I also have a huge passion for theater and starred in numerous original and touring shows for Matt Davenport Productions and The Palace Theatre including Joseph, Grease (Cha Cha), and A Christmas Carol. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some very talented companies and celebs as well. I jammed out with Foreigner in a Pepsi commercial, danced in a Big & Rich music video, was a dancer for Jesse McCartney c/o Hasbro, and performed as a Vanity Vixen alongside celebrity entertainer Coco. Before I moved to Las Vegas, I lived and performed in NYC as an onstage swing and aerialist for Queen of the Night. Currently you can find me dreaming and dancing at the Wynn Las Vegas in the talented cast of Le Reve-The Dream! I feel incredibly grateful that my art has taken me around the world and connected me with so many wonderful, inspiring and talented friends. Without these beautiful relationships, none of the above would have been possible. ️www.ashleynkemp.com
Significant quote: “If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be any thing from your house to bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally) and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.” - Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Q: Tell me about how you discovered your passion for performing? Moments you remember as soul-igniting?
Oddly enough, I discovered my passion for performing through the response of my audiences. Whether it be family and friends or complete strangers, I love sharing my passion and heart with others. I absolutely love being onstage and seeing a smile on the face of child or seeing tears from the eyes of a dear friend. Making others feel something through my movement and expression has got to be the best reward. The most notable soul-igniting performance experiences happen every time I take a new contract and step onto a new stage for the first time. I love the adrenaline that I get from pushing past my nervousness and comfort zone and performing new material.
Q: What healthy habits and/or positive anchors have you found along your way to help keep you grounded and focused?
Routine. I can’t say I’m great at keeping it consistent with the ebb and flow of my crazy lifestyle, but I always try to return to a healthy routine of sleep, exercise, eating, and quality time with friends and family. These things allow me not only to succeed, but also to continue to grow.
Q: How do these habits impact your performance and how do they inform the goals and next steps of your career?
I think that it’s really hard these days to be in the moment because of technology and social media, but having a healthy routine keeps me present. If I am lacking balance or order in my life, I can tell a huge difference mentally and physically, on and off stage. Being present is the most important thing to me while onstage. I think that my routine will be ever-changing but as long as I can establish balance, order and the ability to stay present, I will be set up for success for all future endeavors.
Q: What's your favorite way to celebrate?
I LOVE HOSTING PARTIES!!! I’ve always been a social butterfly so I absolutely love planning events and celebrating in style! Just to give you an example, I rented a mansion for my 30th birthday and invited everyone to the “All That Glitters is Not Old” sparkle-themed party. It was such a fun way to have all of my favorite people in one place, dressed fancy, mingling, celebrating, and dancing the night away! I also had 7 outfit changes... and there was a flash mob... that I planned. Ok so I go a little overboard but I just love gathering all of my friends in one place and feeling surrounded by happiness and love.
Q: How do you take care of your body, mind and spirit?
Exercise, meditation and healthy relationships. I enjoy a lot of variety in my daily life, and I’m always challenging myself to try new forms of exercise that both my body and brain enjoy. Some days I enjoy training with weights in the gym, other days I may enjoy a run outside or a fun new fitness class. For me, yoga has been a great way to kill two birds with one stone. On my mat I am able to clear my mind, meditate and find balance both mentally and physically. Drinking water is also high on the list, although I always need to be better at drinking more. *cue daily self reminder* Lastly, I try to put energy into curating healthy and sincere relationships. At the risk of being cheesy and cliche, I feed off of the lyrics from an old John Mayer song, “I believe that my life’s gonna see the love I give returned to me.”
Q: What is the most delicious meal you’ve ever eaten?
Hands down, my favorite meal I’ve ever had would be Thai soup while in Thailand. I was on a tour in the most beautiful place I have ever seen, and one of the locals handpicked the coconuts and lemongrass to show me how to make the most delicious dish!
Q: Words of encouragement for aspiring artists out there?
There are truthfully no dreams too big. No matter where you come from or what you’ve been through, you can make it anywhere as long as you have heart, stay present and always be determined to bring your ever-evolving best!