Artist Profile: Ashley Benninghoff
I feel like we should really just be saying hello again instead of “meet” Ashley. She was one of the first convergers in 2008 and has not only created beautiful dance pieces but discovered she’s a pretty good actress, can carry a lovely tune and is incredibly handy while building sets, props and costumes. We couldn’t be happier that she’ll be back this year to complete her three-part dance series. You can also catch her work this summer at Motus Dance Theatre’s “Pairings” benefit.What will you be working on this year?
My side project this year for the Indy Convergence will be building on my work from the previous 2 Convergences where I manifested my own interpretations of different shapes. Having manipulated circles and squares I am tackling the triangle this year. Now while in it’s simplest explanation it sounds like a game for preschoolers, it is anything but. When I think of a triangle as a human concept I instantly think of a love triangle. But that can mean many different things, and I am interpreting it as a child pulled between two parents in a divorce. It will be a solo dance where the dancer is wrapped in two very long pieces of fabric that are attached at both ends. The dancer’s movements will create structure and shape within the fabric that is held down at two opposite ends, symbolizing the pull and tension and need to maintain the shape while still finding our own identity.
What attracted to you IC?
This will actually be my 6th year participating in the Indy Convergence. It seems like this should make me a veteran, but each one has been so unique it is like starting from scratch each year, I never know what I am getting myself into, which is wonderful. It is the best outlet for creative creation that I have found. There are no mistakes, no having to fit within a curriculum, or having to cater to a specific audience. It pushes your boundaries, challenging you to try things you never thought you would. It is intense and emotional and puts you through the ringer, but every year I have come out of it stronger, feeling like I have a better sense of my voice as an artist, my voice as a person.
What is your artistic background and where are you from?
I am a Dancer/Choreographer/Teacher who also works at a library. I am currently living in Indianapolis where I am a core artist with Motus Dance, and teach dance at The Dance Refinery when I am not working at the Library. I grew up in Fort Wayne where I was a bunhead at the Fort Wayne Ballet until I went to college at Southern Methodist University where I fell in love with Modern Dance. I spent 3 years living and dancing in NYC before I came back to the Midwest. I have performed in works by Robert Battle, Martha Graham, and Sean Curran, and done my fair share of classical ballets, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Les Sylphides. I have choreographed dances to compete at National Dance Competitions and was a member of the (Re)Collective Company in Indianapolis before joining Motus Dance. While my stronger discipline is dance, I have been known to act, sing, a little puppetry, and create sets, all thanks to the Indy Convergence. I cannot wait to see what they will have me doing next.