5 minutes with your friendly American: Ashley David

Ashley David Auckland Dance Teacher

Just quickly - if we were having this interview in real life, where would we be? :)

Hmmm, we would have probably just grabbed a flat white with soy ☕️ from Zomer Café in Takapuna and would be sitting on a bench by the beach! 🏖

So tell me Ashley, how did you become involved with SUAD? 

SO! I moved to New Zealand in January 2017 from the U.S. of A. 🇺🇸 and was mesmerised by the fact I lived 10 minutes from the beach in Takapuna (literally the first time living by water in my life…ever…do you realise how lucky you kiwis are?!). Anywho, after a week or two of tanning by the beach and pretending my life could be a forever holiday, I had an absolute craving for movement 💃🏼 I googled dance in my area and came across SU&D classes a couple blocks away. Even more than that, I read all of the copy on the website and got REALLY excited because everything about SU&D spoke to me ✨ I believe movement is human ✔️ I believe everyone has the power to tap into their inner dancer and let it out ✔️ And I LOVE being the person to help facilitate that safe space ✔️ So I emailed the hello email and told SU&D I wanted to work for them. Abby answered back encouraging me to take class in Takapuna (which was taught by the fabulous Frith), loved every second of it, auditioned a month later, and here I am!

What do you love most about being a part of Shut Up & Dance?

Oh my gosh…so much, literally 🙌🏽 I think I texted Abby after teaching my first class telling her it was the most fun I ever had teaching and that was not an overstatement. I just love the people involved so much (shout out to Abby, Clair & Lesa) and of course I love the people who come to my classes. No mirrors, no judgment, just fun…hello, what could be better? Looking out and seeing everyone smiling, sweating, laughing and enjoying themselves despite, age, shape, experience or anything else…it’s the best feeling in the world to know I get to make that happen! Also our class themes are on point… Just saying. 👌🏽

Whats your guilty pleasure dance track? 

Wild Ones with Sia and Flo Rida. “HEY I HEARD YOU WERE A WILD ONEEEE…OOOOOOooooOOOoooOOOO.” I’m not kidding. Tell me that song doesn’t make you jam 🎵

If you were to be stranded on a desert island and you had to take one person with you, who would it be and why?

I’m going to pick two people because I’m a rebel 🤓 but I would take my mom and my aunt. Not because I have any confidence at all that they could survive 2 minutes on an island without modern amenities, but because they make me laugh so much. First of all, their names are Hilda and Frida and that should make you giggle right away. And they are just two little peas in a pod/my fave humans on the planet. So yeah, their hilarity will keep me sane on that island. But I’m going to continue breaking the rules because I would bring my dad to get us out of there and my partner Gordon to help my dad get us out of there (their common sense is pretty on point).

What about if $$$ was no object - what would you do?

✈️ Travel travel travel travel travel and more travel. And give SO much money 💸 to all the good causes of the world starting with the arts 🎨 because arts managers are the hardest working people on the planet and deserve raises and security in their craft and less time slaving over grant applications and reporting (I’m not talking from experience…nope…not at all…).

Have you done anything in the past week that has made you proper cringe? Something that made you laugh?

So, this wasn’t in the last week, but on my flight from San Francisco to Baltimore a few weeks ago I hard core fell asleep 😴 in the middle seat and you better believe the guy next to me was an involuntary headrest during my subconscious sleep state. He was too nice to move me so it was probably a good two hours I stayed that way with drool stains to boot 🤤 *CUE THE CRINGE AND NERVOUS LAUGH UPON WAKING* 

What would you say is your biggest achievement yet?

Mustering the courage to move across the world to be with the person I love (shout out to Gordon Murie for being a pretty rad boo thang) ❤️

The last time I cried or was sad was _______ to make myself feel better I _________

While I was in NZ this past year my grandmother passed away. I’m home in the U.S. for the holidays at the moment and going to my grandma’s home without her in it was pretty tearful, but my two year old niece made me feel better by screaming hi and clapping very loudly every time I walked in the room 😍 That is a bonafide way to make you feel better/like a celebrity 💁🏽

Something your parents are proud of you for?

My independent spirit ✨ (I’m literally in the car on a 6 hour drive with my dad right now and asked him what he was proud of me for and this was his immediate response so I’m going to roll with it).


What's your favourite quote?

“Good things never came from comfort zones.” “Nevertheless, she persisted.” “She believed she could, so she did.” I know, I know I’m a total quote cheeseball… 🧀 but I’m a sucker for words (my number one love language is words of affirmation…take the love language quiz by the way, it’s fascinating) so inspirational quotes are kind of my thing.

Vegemite: Yay or nay?

NAY…sorry but this American can not get down with the mite.

If you were a cake slice what would you be and why?

Vanilla bean cheesecake with raspberry swirl because cheese is my favorite food on the planet and therefore I would obviously also be cheese in the cake form 🍰

If there was a film made about your life, what's the song that plays on it's trailer?

Bootylicious by Destiny’s Child. I’m Armenian (like the Kardashians) so enough said. J/K probs more like “Who Run the World (Girls)”. Cliché, but I don’t care because Beyonce.

Cats or dogs?

DOGS. I dislike cats, cats dislike me…it’s mutual disdain.

Something you're really good at?

A second wind. I am the champion of being absolutely exhausted, but the minute good music and room to dance present themselves to me at night, I’m the second wind kween 👑

Wanna spy on Ashley's life? Follow her on Instagram

Photo credit: Yana Papaya, Papaya Stories 

Abby Damen