Aesha Ash

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Aesha Ash
Aesha Ash signing photos in front of a screen that reads "Dare to Dream"
Aesha Ash, 2018
Born (1977-12-30) December 30, 1977 (age 41)
ResidenceSan Jose, California
EducationSchool of American Ballet
Years active1995-2008
Former groupsNew York City Ballet
Béjart Ballet
Alonzo King LINES Ballet

Aesha Ash is an American ballerina.[1] During most of her career at the New York City Ballet, she was the only African-American ballerina.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Ash was born on December 30, 1977 in Rochester, New York. As a child, she began taking jazz classes and later moved to ballet. Ash was accepted into the School of American Ballet at age 13. While at the school, she won the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise. At age 18, she joined the corps de ballet at New York City Ballet. In 2003, she moved to Switzerland to perform as a soloist in the Béjart Ballet. She then returned to the United States in 2005 to join the Alonzo King LINES Ballet, a contemporary ballet company in San Francisco.[3] She retired from ballet in 2008. After retirement, she started the Swan Dreams Project, a project that encourages African-American girls to become ballet dancers.[4] In 2016, she received an award from the National Women's History Museum for her contribution to the arts. Ash was also featured in the 2016 book The Ballerina’s Little Black Book.


In 2001, Ash appeared in Richard Blanshard's documentary Living a Ballet Dream. She also served as Zoe Saldana's dance double during more complex sequences in the 2000 film Center Stage.

Personal life[edit]

Ash lives in San Jose, California with her husband and their two children. Later in life, she teaches at various SAB auditions.[5] She proudly includes Pilates as part of her cross training as a dancer, and started her Pilates certification in 2008.[6]


  • 1996 Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise[7]
  • 2016 NWHM Women Making History Award


  1. ^ "Aesha Ash Artistic Associate, Guest Instructor". Los Gatos Ballet. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  2. ^ Howard, Rachel (January 28, 2007). "Ballet: The Last Frontier". San Francisco Chronicle.
  3. ^ Kourlas, Gia (May 6, 2007). "Where Are All the Black Swans?". New York Times.
  4. ^ "Aesha Ash: the elite ballerina helping everyone feel welcome onstage". The Guardian. May 10, 2016.
  5. ^ "Ash, Aesha (1977- )". Black Past. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Aesha Ash". Los Gatos Ballet. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  7. ^ "The Mae L. Wien Awards: Past Awardees". School of American Ballet.

Furthur Reading[edit]

External Links[edit]