An Ashani Story

A precursor to Ballet Ashani ©, Iyun Ashani Harrison founded Ashani Dances in Seattle, WA - 2012. Our objective was to provide talented young dancers guidance as they navigated the transition from pre-professional to professional artist. We devoted resources toward nurturing their artistic and technical development while partnering young dancers with returning professionals who acted as mentors. We presented three seasons while in Seattle and received high critical recognition throughout our brief tenure.

Seattle Dances offered, “The result is a company on par with Seattle’s elite in contemporary dance: Spectrum Dance Theater and Whim W’him, Harrison’s international experience and classical background presents a refreshing niche in Seattle’s contemporary dance market; his technical, virtuosic dancers are appealing to both dance aficionados, as well as the general public.”

In 2015 we were appointed resident dance company for Goucher College’s Department of Dance in Baltimore, MD. While there we presented two concerts. In response to our local debut, shared:

“Love Me, Now Leave Me Alone is an important reminder that dance is a powerfully responsive tool, one that has the power to delve deeply, and then go beyond visual work like [Edward] Hopper’s … there were beautiful, breathtaking glimpses of intimacy and melancholy, love and despair: all Hopper-esque, but also universal and evergreen.

With our most recent move to Durham, NC, we have utilized the opportunity to restate our identity, renaming the organization Ballet Ashani – A Contemporary Ballet.

Our Mission

Ballet Ashani provides a platform to promote the artistic excellence and creative innovation of underrepresented peoples within the field of contemporary ballet.

We curate, collaborate with, and present the work of artists of color, women, gender non-conforming individuals and differently abled creatives who explore intersections between art, technology, and modern life to construct new modalities in contemporary ballet.

In addition to our regular season performances, we produce the Pocket Pieces Digital Dance Festival © to provide early and mid-career choreographers opportunities to develop and showcase their creative work. 

Our goal is to create experiences in ballet that increase racial and cultural representation while expanding the reach of the art form to new audiences.