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She Can Dance

Ashley Rich shares her experience on So You Think You Can Dance.


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James Dimmock/Fox

When Ashley Rich became a finalist on the recently wrapped eighth season of So You Think You Can Dance, the kids she teaches at Tiffany’s Dance Academy were suddenly starstruck. “I’ve taught them for two years, and after seeing me on TV, they got all excited like they’d never met me before,” she says.

The upbeat 22-year-old received her early ballet and modern dance instruction in a handful of studios from Antioch to Walnut Creek, and trained at New York’s prestigious Ailey School, before nailing her audition for the hit Fox show. As one of Dance’s Top 20 contestants, Rich performed an array of dance styles over five weeks, from hip-hop to Bollywood, and was eliminated after she and partner Chris took on salsa. “It was a good experience to be tested in all these styles,” Rich says. “I was pushed to my limit, but it is cool to see what comes out of hard work.”

Back at home in Emeryville, Rich is taking classes at Lines Ballet, teaching at Tiffany’s in Livermore and San Ramon, and pursuing dance company and Broadway opportunities (ultimate goal: Alvin Ailey or Chicago). Above all, she is trying to stay grounded, as she advises her students: “If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. Other doors will open. Staying true to yourself is the biggest thing.”

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