Former New York City Ballet dancer Aesha Ash is the newest member of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. I talked to her in advance of the company’s fall season, opening Friday, for the Chronicle:

“It wasn’t the most orthodox of job interviews. Dancer Aesha Ash first spoke by phone to choreographer Alonzo King.

“I said, ‘I don’t even know how I’m going to keep dancing,’ ” the doe-eyed 27-year-old recalls, sitting cross-legged in a studio at the San Francisco Dance Center. “I said, ‘I’m so tired. I’m just totally disenchanted with the dance world right now, and I have no inspiration.’ ”

Her beautiful oval face still looks a bit weary. Just six months ago she was ready to end her stage career, worn down by the ballet world’s insistence on rail-thinness and the pressures of being the only African American woman at the New York City Ballet. Now she is the newest member of King’s Lines Ballet, dancing in the world premiere “Moroccan Project” at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts during the troupe’s fall season next week, opening Friday.”

Incidentally, the lead got chopped in two. I turned in “It wasn’t the most orthodox of job interviews when Aesha Ash first spoke by phone to choreographer Alonzo King.” No great shakes, I’ll admit, but still I prefer it.

To read the whole story (and see some gorgeous photos of Aesha), click here.


  • lauren Posted November 3, 2005 2:48 am

    worshipped her growing up. such an inspiration. how exciting for Lines…and what a change for her…this will be interesting to watch.- lauren

  • Penelope Posted November 5, 2005 7:50 pm

    I just want to applaud aesha for all her hard work trying to make it in the dance world. It doesn’t matter how much you weigh or what color your skin is but your talent and passion. Being a woman of color, I am inspired by her efforts to continue dancing.

  • Les Posted November 11, 2005 2:59 pm

    Aesha’s technique is flawless, but I’m most impressed
    by her lightning-quick focus. When she spots
    for a turn, it’s like the whole world becomes granite
    for a split second. Alonzo, once again, is very lucky.

  • June Sledge Mair Posted January 15, 2006 4:50 pm

    Aesha’s grandparents were my Great Uncle John and Aunt Desi. They would be very proud of her as is all of her family and countless others for the wonderful role model she is. We are all glad she is still dancing.

  • Jonathan David Jackson Posted May 6, 2007 6:50 am

    Dear Rachel: Thank you for featuring Aesha Ash and thank you for some of the most consistently first-rate dance criticism in the nation (and internationally too). ~JDJ

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