Dancing is an art and a tool for creativity for many people. However, the pressure of being perfect and the high standards in the industry create walls that limit the potential of young talents in the dancing community. Susanne Puerschel unpacks this topic with Ashley Mowrey, a mindset coach and educator for dancers. Ashley shares that through her life coaching, she helps her students through releasing self-doubt and quieting their inner critic. She is convinced that it is important to set your core values and check in on them to see if they align with the actions they’re doing and the path they are pursuing in life. She also notes how the mere act of enjoying the process and having a healthy environment can help a budding dancer tremendously in their journey.
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Fighting Perfectionism In The Dancing Community With Ashley Mowrey
Our special guest is Ashley Mowrey. Ashley is a mindset coach and educator for dancers. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Arkansas. She’s a Whole Person Certified Coach through Coach Training World and a trained facilitator in Tara Mohr’s Playing Big leadership program for women. She is a specialist for Doctors for Dancers and a blog contributor for Apolla Performance. Ashley has joined the faculty for the Embody Dance Conference in Hartford, Connecticut where she will lead workshops for all ages, including parents and teachers on mindset tools. She’s also a team member of Dancer, 360, and will be a contributor to their upcoming book.Ballet is so specific and disciplined. There is not a lot of wiggle room and that black and white can breed perfectionism. Click To Tweet
Ashley trained as a competitive dancer out of Dallas, Texas, before teaching and eventually directing a company and dance studio in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was during those years that she felt drawn towards the dancer’s mindset and the need for training, and tools in the dance community to foster mental health and wellbeing. She sees clients in-person and via Skype and Zoom all over the country as well as travels, mostly digitally, to studios for customized group workshops. Go to her website for more information or her Instagram for free tools and resources to help you build a healthy mindset to navigate the dance world at your best. Please join us in this conversation because it is so juicy. I can’t wait to share it with you. Without further ado, here is Ashley.
Ashley, welcome to the show. I am grateful that you are here. Thank you.
Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.
Let’s jump right in. I always ask the question, how did you start dancing? Where did it start? What was the intention? What did it evolve into?
I started when I was three in a little ballet movement class and it was a small studio in a small town. I loved the freedom of expression. I loved the movement. I remember playing the freeze dance game where you dance around and the teacher stops the music and you freeze. I loved moving my body. Especially when I was younger, I found it harder to express myself with my words, so I felt this freedom within dance to express myself and that continued as I got older and as I started to compete as a dancer. I felt that there was a whole vocabulary I could use through my movement. I always say that dance was my first love. I fell in love with it from day one and that freedom of expression got me.
I said that too that dance was my first love. Isn’t that the truth? Isn’t that what we experience? That’s why most of us want to become that dancer and it doesn’t matter in what capacity now in competitive dancing or you want to be part of a company or you want to go travel the world. It is that initiative rock that God picked us, “This is for you. Go do it.” I’ve read your introduction and I’m like, “Holy moly, could you have any more titles or things that you’ve done or will do and doing?”
Let’s talk about something that I am passionate about and how I started in my coaching, which is around mindset. We don’t see it in the dance space as something important and something that we focus on. We focus on the body over everything else. Not taking into consideration that your soul, mind, spirituality, and all of that a part of you and need as much training and maybe more than your body does. Walk us through the journey. Where did that come from? Where was it birthed?
Like many dancers, from a young age, there were a lot of perfectionist tendencies in me. I was drawn towards perfection. The body image struggles started super young for me. There was this constant want and desire for validation from my dance teachers and awards. Being a competitive dancer can be confusing when you’re competing against your peers every single weekend and being ranked and scored against them.
By the time I got to high school, I had so much anxiety around it and I was experiencing a lot of burnout. I felt like I wasn’t enough. There was this mentality of like, “Suck it up. Get thicker skin. Don’t cry and dance. Check your day at the door.” All of these things were so driven into me and I thought, “There’s something wrong with me. I’m not cut out for this.” By the time I got to the end of high school, I was burnt out and wanted to be done with dance for a while and maybe forever.
I went to college and I got my degree in Psychology. During my four years of undergrad, I missed dance. I found a local dance studio where I went to college and I started teaching dance. It was in those years that I fell in love with teaching. I also noticed the same things coming up in my dancers. I was teaching and choreographing and then ended up directing a competition dance company. I started noticing these things: perfectionism, body image and fixed mindset. The fear can be paralyzing.
I started looking around and I couldn’t find anything for dancers. I kept thinking, “Why is there not something for dancers? Why is there not a talk about where the resource is, where’s the education, and how can I help?” I started to do something about it. That was back in 2015, I became a trained facilitator with life coach and author, Tara Mohr’s Playing Big method. I went through her training program and I initially planned to use this method with my dancers. I wanted to introduce it into the studio and with my dancers and help them. That’s how it started.
Over the next several years, it grew and I used it more. It was when one of my student’s dream was to become Miss America. I didn’t have any pageant experience and I didn’t have any knowledge of pageants but she said, “Can you help me clean my dance? Can we work on it?” I said, “Sure.” We started working together and I saw these same things come up in her. This mindset wasn’t in a healthy place. We split our time together cleaning her dance and working on her mindset.
I saw firsthand the difference that it made. In Miss America week, even with all the stress and pressure, she was able to navigate that, keep a healthy mindset, and check her comparisons. She ended up winning Miss America 2017. I remember after that, I was like, “This is needed. Miss America needs these things, and a lot of other dancers out there do. Let’s see if we can turn this into something.” Over the next year, that seed grew in my mind of, “How can I turn this into a business?” Since then, I switched gears and stopped teaching completely and now do mindset coaching for dancers exclusively. I’ve also got a couple of more certifications since then for coaching and continued to work with dancers one-on-one and through workshops to deliver these skills and this mindset education.
Can we get into perfectionism? I talked on a podcast about that. I talked about it from my journey. It hindered me to be a great dancer. It hindered me to step into my full potential because I was always afraid of not being enough. Please correct me if I’m wrong, I’m going to share my termination of what I feel perfectionism in the performing arts and dance looks like. Perfection is you can’t grow. There’s nothing after it. It’s that chasing for the title and performance. Everything has to be perfect. There is no room to breathe and no fluidity. You can’t move within that box that you’re in.The dance community needs vulnerability, the opposite of perfection, in order to lean into the authenticity in their art. Click To Tweet
I know now that it’s in a way for people to live in their higher power and tap into their entire potential because that perfectionism acts as an anchor almost that keeps you where perhaps the industry wants you to stand. Almost to be afraid of shining your true light in the spotlight. Why do you think this is? Why do you think the industry is demanding and asking for perfectionism? We can brainstorm on that.
I would love to brainstorm and have some discussion around it. My first initial thoughts are that there is a long historical tradition of it and that’s a big factor in it. Specifically in ballet where we see perfectionism a lot, but we see it in all areas. Ballet is so specific and disciplined. Sometimes, there’s not a lot of wiggle room in that way. If you’re doing certain technical elements and technical stuff, there is a right way and there is a wrong way. That black and white can breed that perfectionism. There is a long history of that being the norm and that being the ideal. This perfection has been a bit glamorized.
Instagram and social media, in general, have perpetuated it more in the competition sphere because you have these younger wonderful dancers who are getting famous on social media. I’m all for dancers having a platform and sharing their art and sharing their work. The problem comes when there is such an emphasis on these perfect pictures that go on social media. The likes and comments that they get fuel this mindset of, “My picture doesn’t look like their picture. I’m never going to be enough. They’re perfect. I’m not.” Those are some contributing factors that I see but I would love to know your thoughts too.
You’ve brought up something so good, and I want to get into that social media part of needing to be seen and exposed and what kind of exposure. Can you help me remember that because it’s such an important topic? When we’re asking for somebody to be perfect, to be doing it exactly how we are telling them to do it, we’re taking away their individuality. We’re taking away the actual beauty of that person, their core.
We’re asking people to be perfect because we are fearful that what we’re going to show isn’t enough. When we’re looking at ballet and its history, if we’re looking at the arts as a whole, the arts have always felt like they don’t have a place to belong. They don’t fit in and this is why they’re nonprofit, chasing money and why they’re spending 30% of their budgets on fundraising activity that could be put somewhere else.
Perfectionism or asking everybody to be perfect is a survival mode because we, the industry, don’t see its value and its worth within the parameters of the world, let’s say. It would be so easily fixed if they would be able to say, “This is who we are. We are not trying to serve everybody in our city or everybody that wants to give us money. We are here to serve the people that want to come and see us. We’re here to put out beautiful art. We’re here to show you what it means to be a dancer. We’re here to give you emotions that carry you through the next day. We’re here to inspire you and to help you take away your mundane life and show you that there’s a whole other world out there that you can dream as big as you want to.”
Ballet specifically has forgotten its space. Why is it here? It has forgotten its first position and why it exists. It keeps throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. That was a long-winded answer and in terms of why we’re seeing perfection. Perfection is a side effect of where the industry is at. With that, I would say that all the abuse that we’re seeing, and all the things that are not working, and the things that we’re not talking about and not concentrating on, are a product of the arts not feeling relevant.
Brené Brown, the researcher and author, talks a lot about how perfectionism is a heavy shield. It’s this mentality that can be so appealing, “If I am perfect, then nobody can criticize me and nobody can have any bad opinions of me.” That’s not true. We carry this weight with us. I love what you said because as a dance community, we need to be more vulnerable. That’s the opposite of this perfectionist shield. It’s being vulnerable and leaning into our authenticity, into our art and how we can show up in that way instead of this, “We have to be perfect,” way.
You tapped into something that I love so much, the authenticity. That word has been thrown around for quite some time and everybody says, “Be authentic. Be yourself.” Nobody knows what that means. Let’s look at dancers altogether. What does that mean? I don’t even know who I am. I don’t think people are being encouraged to be themselves. You have to be this way. You have to eat this and this. You have to think this way. You have to do this and if you don’t do that, then you don’t get that. There’s no room for anything to think to stand on your own two legs when we’re transferring that into social media.
Can we break that apart? I found it so interesting that you brought it up. It’s something that’s been sitting here for a long time. What we’re seeing on social media and even the people that have 200 billion followers, what do they do on social media? What is the content that they’re putting out? Let’s look at the comments. Why are they putting it out? Let’s start with what they are putting out and help me understand because I might be too old to understand what’s happening.
I often think about how grateful I am that I wasn’t a teenager when Instagram came about because they speak it but it’s a different experience. I was already so wrapped up in my image and other people’s perception of me, I can only imagine if there was this pressure to post. As far as the dancers who have such big followings, there’s this formula of people with a big platform. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with these dancers or with these people. I totally get it but we’ve created or found this formula that gets large numbers. It’s this formula of a highlight reel of all the awards of all the perfection of the perfect photo shoots. It’s these curated versions of what’s happening and it doesn’t show the disappointment. It doesn’t show the process, but it shows the outcome.
For a dancer who is not where that other dancer is, and they’re looking at this, they’re seeing the outcome. They’re not seeing the process. They’re not seeing what went into it and they’re also seeing this perfect little slice of their life. We’re starting to see a little bit coming away from that. There’s a trend of starting to show more authentic versions of ourselves on social media but it’s still there. It’s still something I work on with most of my clients. It’s hard especially for the younger dancers to be able to navigate that space.
Can we talk about process versus outcome? I talked about that with somebody else and even with the kits. We reward kits for the outcome or the results. Where the real nugget is and where the real growth happens is enjoying the process. Life is a journey. Life is a process. You’ll never get there. When I first heard that, I’m like, “Why am I starting if I don’t get there?” It definitely is in our mentality as dancers to get there.
We talked about this and we’re not enjoying the process. The process is not being put on a pedestal. The process is the tool, not the outcome. However, true happiness and true fulfillment lies on the process and not when you get there because that is short-lived. How can we help this generation that is going into competitions, or even dancers that aren’t active now, in an environment that is outcome-oriented? How can we help them to find joy in the process? How can we give them permission that the process is where it’s at?
That’s one of the reasons I’m passionate about doing workshops for studios and companies and working with these dancers because it has to be two things at once. It has to be in an environment where the teacher is supportive of these things. It also has to be dancers that are engaged in the process. Some of the things that I work on both with clients and within workshops, one of my most popular workshops is to lead the dancers through setting their core values.
I have an exercise that takes an hour because we start with 100 different values. We narrow it down and we get specific. We rank them and from there, we look at what behaviors align with these values. When I come into the studio every day, how can I live these values? What does that look like in the studio? What if I come in a bad mood one day? What if I come in tired one day? What if I get some harsh criticism one day? How can I use my values as my light and my compass to realign with that inner guide, with that true self?
When I’m doing it in a workshop setting, I also encourage the teachers to then use that in a compassionate way to bring some self-awareness to the dancers. A dancer comes in and it’s having an off day to use that as a discussion point of, “What are some of your values that you did in the workshop with Ashley? What would it look like if we aligned with those today? What behaviors would that look like? What do you need in order to live with those values today?”Social media doesn’t show the process. It shows the outcome. Click To Tweet
Setting our core values and continuously checking in with them and checking in on how we can align with those can definitely help the process. You have to daily get into the growth mindset. On my live with Apolla Performance, I did a mindset warm-up and cool down where it’s quick, 3 to 5 minutes. It’s going to walk you through every time you step into the studio, 3 deep breaths, 2 things that you need to let go of, and 1 intention. You visualize dancing from that place. We need to do this with our dancers daily to focus on the process, “This is what we are doing in the studio. What does this process look like?”
Align your goals with your habits. That’s a big bold statement, however, it is so important. You will not have the ability to achieve your goals if everything that you do in a day is outside of alignment with where you want to get. When we’re talking about dancers going to the studio, visualizing and setting intentions, these are all words that most of them have never heard in their life before. When we look at athletes, they have a million coaches for every single part of their body and some. Sleep coach, how to wash your hands, and how to do all of these things. You can drink your water. I drink stuff here all the time.
The mindset for how we are preparing dancers to show up as their best self is poor. There are many more aspects. Dancing may have been something that people did just because they could and they got famous for it. It was for fun and people raised money for it. It was for the rich and beautiful, but it has evolved into an institution in today’s world. Therefore, we need to treat it. I heard a lovely quote. If you treat yourself or your business as a hobby, you’re going to get paid as a hobby. One of the reasons why the arts are still behind in how to earn money is because they’re treating themselves as a hobby. This is why dancers are paid as a hobby.
Let’s get into visualization, intention and goal setting. Why is all of that so important? I’m referring back to Atomic Habits. It’s getting 1% better every day. We’re looking at the example that James Clear sets of the English National Cycling team. When they hired that habit coach, he looked at the big picture, the bikes, the shoes and all of this. After a few years, they went underneath the surface into what colored room are the bikes stored in, “It needs to be a white room so we can see every speck of dust settling on the bikes.” They had a coach that taught them how to sleep, to rest so they’re at their highest performance abilities. They had somebody teaching them how to wash their hands so they prevent illnesses. How can we draw parallels from these examples? How are we aligning what is happening every day in a studio with what the end goal is?
The first thing that we have to do is we have to get teachers. I hear so much from teachers, educators, and choreographers that there’s this pressure and lack of time. I hear that is contributing there. There’s always this rush to get things done. Sometimes all of the mindset work is put on the back burner because there is this urgency to produce a dance, clean a dance, put it on stage and get it perfect. We’re getting there but I don’t think we’ve quite got the buy-in on if you start cleaning the dance and do some of this mindset work for a while and spend some of your class time doing this, it is going to help your process. It’s going to make it more efficient and more productive and better results.
A follow-up question, the pressure and lack of time, not enough time in the studio, not enough time to rehearse. What is enough time? What does that look like?
I’m going to speak to the competition community because that’s where a lot of my work lies and where a lot of the dancers that I work with are. Especially in the competition community right now, there is this mentality of more is more. We have to have 180 competition dances. I have to have three solos and we have to go to seven conventions. There is this overwhelm with these dancers who are dancing 40 hours a week at 12, 13 years old or younger. It’s not sustainable. That’s why there’s so much burnout. That’s why the senior room is the smallest room at conventions and competitions. It’s not sustainable.
I hear from teachers a lot of times that there’s this pressure to teach every single style of dance and to have every single style well-executed, have all these technique hours, all these conditioning hours, all these competition rehearsals and fit everything in. I’m not sure but the pressure comes from everywhere. It comes from themselves, the parents wanting certain things, from what the studio down the street is doing, from what they’re seeing at competitions. We all get wrapped up in this mentality of, “There’s not enough time. We don’t have time for this,” or that they don’t see the value in it. It’s probably both. They don’t quite see the value or give mindset work their credit that it’s worth.
The reason why there isn’t enough time is because they believe there isn’t enough time and they’re not scheduling their time right.
There’s too much. You don’t have to do everything.
Entrepreneurs are learning that they don’t have to do everything. Can we pick apart a little bit more of aligning goals with good habits? If we’re looking at dance competitions or professional ballet companies, the goal is to be a high performer onstage offering something to the audience that is sellable. We want to show up as our best selves every time we’re on the stage. That is asked of the people. I see many habits these dancers have nowadays, and I had myself, that were completely opposite and were in the way of me reaching my goals. However, they were taught to me and asked of me, “Don’t eat.” That does not get me to my goal.
“No breaks in your 8 to 10-hour rehearsals.” If they don’t say, “Don’t eat,” that is a message to don’t eat because we’re not going to give you a bite to eat, or we’re going to give you one 30-minute break.
I have no words for the ones that are reading. We’re both touching our faces like, “It doesn’t make sense and how do we get there? How can we get here?” Is it because everybody is bringing their ego in every single time a generation turns? We’re drawing from the experiences and imitating them without looking at what the world looks like right now and see how this fits in who I want to be or how I want to. You don’t have to follow. You can create your own legacy. That comes into, stop having people telling you what to do all the time, and find your own voice. Find what works for you and what needs to be encouraged. I understand that. I’m seeing the circle that we’re spinning now. If you could give our readers three tips, as in, they are tired of doing the thing every single day. They have this tiny light shining into their soul that’s questioning, “Is it necessary that all of this is always on my plate every day?” Where would you advise them to start?
The first thing is to bring some awareness to that voice that is saying, “Do I have to do all of this? Why am I feeling this burnt out and why am I feeling this exhausted?” That voice is there for a reason. The more we turn it down, the more we shut it down, the worse we’re going to feel. The first thing is to give that voice some space to say, “I’m listening. What have you got? What do you need to tell me?” Create that space to hear that voice and to hear what they’re thinking and what you need?
The second thing is to set your core values and look at your current schedule and your current life. Is what you’re doing in alignment with those values? Why are you doing these things? If you need an exercise for that, for your readers, my March blog post for Apolla Performance was on values setting, and I have a whole exercise there that will walk you through that. The third thing is looking at your why. Why are you doing the things that you’re doing? Is this because this is what your teacher said? Is this because this is what social media tells you should do? Is this because you see other studios who are winning are doing these things so you feel you have to do those? What is your why? What’s leading your way? Is it your ego that’s leading now instead of your true authentic voice? How can we shift into your authentic voice? That starts with getting clear about your values, not the values that you think you should have. Not the values you think your parents or your studio wants you to have, or your true values and looking at is what you’re doing in alignment with that and what your why is?
Can we pick apart values here? When I first started, I had no idea what that meant. What is a value? Can you give us a few examples?Values can be our inner compass. They are ways to describe how we want to live our life. Click To Tweet
Values can be our inner compass. They are things that we wholeheartedly believe and they are ways to describe how we want to live our life. For me, a few of my core values are showing up authentically. Not showing up how others want me to be and how to please people. As dancers, we’re such people-pleasers sometimes and that can be something hard to break. Showing up authentically is important to me to honor myself and not do that people-pleasing stuff. Collaboration is one of my values. I know we’ve talked about this. As a competitive dancer, I was raised as such in a space of, “There’s no space for everybody,” because only one person can get first overall.
Over the last several years, I have done a lot of inner work for myself to shift that mindset and to put collaboration first. If I’m scrolling on social media and I see someone similar to what I’m doing, or someone adjacent to what I’m doing, I start the comparison thing and the petty thoughts, I can stop and say, “This is not that collaboration value. This is not living into that. What would it look like? Do you know that collaboration is one of your most important values? What would that look like to shift into that right now?” It’s honoring those feelings. We don’t want to shut down our feelings or step them down. Honoring those feelings that are coming up but then looking at what’s at play there. Is there fear there? Is there a fear of not being enough? Shifting out of that into an action of what would it look like if I valued collaboration now?
It gives you the power to ask different questions.
It brings self-awareness into, “Are my behaviors in alignment with what is important in how I want to live my life?”
For a long time, I found that it is so easy to spin my hamster wheel round and round. I did the same thing, the same thoughts and beliefs over and over again and I thought, “Why is nothing changing in my life?” I didn’t realize that it was because I did not have any values. I didn’t know what was important to me that I could snap out of it. The saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” ￼if I look back, the awareness level that I had at the point that I was dancing was like, “How did I make it through a day?” Thank you for that. That is so important. We talk about vows but people hear the word and do not associate what it is and/or how it can help you guide yourself every day. That conscious living that we’re talking about and hearing about is what it is. Being aware, most of the time of how you’re feeling, what you’re doing, how you’re reacting, and what you’re choosing to be. Talk to me about the offering that you have. Let’s shine a light on you.
I offer a few different ways. I have a couple of free options that I do for people who are interested in mindset work. My Instagram is full of resources and tools.
Thank you. I try to be mindful about what I can bring for free and I also have my inner circle, which is my email list, which is a free email list that I send weekly, resources, tools and exercises. They can sign up for that on my website, AshleyMowrey.com. Scroll down and there’s a place to enter your first name and email. I do one–on–one coaching with dancers. That’s all virtual right now. Wherever you are in the world, I can work with you. We hop on Zoom and work. I start everybody out on a six-session package. I’ve found that’s a great number to see some progress. From there, most of my dancers transition into monthly sessions either once or twice a month.
I also do offer a one-time single-use only 1.5 intensive. This is for people who have one big area that they need to do right away, and/or maybe a teacher who wants to start incorporating mindset work into their teaching with their students and they need a crash course in it. I do offer that. It’s my single session intensive and I also do virtual workshops for dancers. If you’re a studio owner, a teacher or a company director, contact me and we can talk. All of them are totally customized to what you need for your group. Whatever areas are most needed, whatever you’re seeing or want help with, I do that and the teachers are welcome to be in on the whole workshop and learn too so they can help their students and implement it both with themselves and with their dancers.
Thank you for that. Let me ask you that question. Do you find that sometimes teachers and/or dancers don’t know what they need until they start working with you?
Yes, I do. That’s why I try to occasionally have different posts or emails. I had one about behaviors to notice. What behaviors to be aware of that could be a signal of what you need. If a client is under eighteen, my first communication is with a parent or guardian. Basically, the parent or guardian tells me what they’re seeing and I help them, “That’s perfectionism. That’s inner critic. They could use some values here.” We talked through what part of mindset coaching would be helpful to them.
In my first session with every client, I do a bulk of the session together but they’re answering in a coaching self-assessment where I have ten statements that they rank. That gives us a clear picture of where they are. They’re things like, “I feel like my anxiety and nerves are holding me back from performing at my best.” They rank that. I have ten of those that look at all different areas of the dancer’s life and all different mindset skills that could be needed, and we use that as a jumping-off point.
Last question and then you’re off the hook.
This has been so great.
With all the knowledge that you’ve gathered so far, if you were to look back at your sixteen-year-old, what would you tell her?
I got goosebumps because there’s so much. I would tell her, “You are enough. You’re not broken. This isn’t you. There are many tools, exercises, skills and things that are out there to help you but you are enough.”
Jim Rohn was Tony Robbins’ teacher and he says that psychology is for everybody. Bob Proctor, in that whole area, was on a podcast of Lewis Howes and he was talking about that. Psychology is for everybody and quite honestly, psychology is mindset work. It’s simple and it’s not rocket science. You don’t need to have a doctor or a degree to understand it. It is what nowadays will make you or give you the capability to draw out your full potential. Self-development and mindset work is not learning something new. It’s unlearning all the heavy stuff that’s keeping you from showing up as you better yourself. Ashley, thank you for this.
Thank you for having me. This was so wonderful.
Thank you for what you’re doing in the world. It is so needed. I can’t wait to see what our collaboration is going to look like.
Me, too. This was wonderful. Thank you for having me.
Thank you. Thanks for reading, you all. Don’t forget to tag us with your biggest tag takeaway and share what you want to know more of. Until next time.
- Ashley Mowrey
- Playing Big
- Doctors for Dancers
- Apolla Performance
- Embody Dance Conference
- Dancer, 360
- Atomic Habits
- March blog post – Apolla Performance blog post
About Ashley Mowrey
Ashley Mowrey is a Mindset Coach and Educator for dancers. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Arkansas, is a Whole Person Certified Coach through Coach Training World, a trained facilitator in Tara Mohr’s Playing Big Leadership Program for Women, a specialist for Doctors for Dancers, and a blog contributor for Apolla Performance. Ashley has recently joined the faculty for the upcoming Embody Dance Conference, coming Summer 2021 in Hartford, CT where she will lead workshops for all ages, including parents and teachers, on mindset tools.
She is also a Team Member of Dancer, 360 and will be a contributor to their upcoming book. Ashley trained as a competitive dancer out of Dallas, TX before teaching and eventually directing a company and dance studio in Fayetteville, AR. It was during those years that she felt drawn towards the dancer’s mindset and the need for training and tools in the dance community to foster mental health and wellbeing. She sees clients in person and via Skype/Zoom all over the country as well as travels (mostly digitally these days) to studios for customized group workshops. Head to her website for more information, or her Instagram for free tools and resources to help you build a healthy mindset to navigate the dance world at your best.
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