Meet Ashley Everett. She’s Beyonce’s lead dancer and a dance captain. If you’re going to tonight’s #OnTheRun concert, you’ll see her front and center on stage. You’ve also seen her front and center in just about all of Beyonce’s hottest videos, plus, if you’re really on your Ps and Qs, you can meet her tonight at a post-concert bash she’s throwing with another dancer downtown at Nouveau Tavern.
Everett’s been working with the Queen Bey for seven years now, and she’s coming straight to On The Run from the Mrs. Carter tour that sold out last year. Clearly, Everett’s seen a lot, but nothing’s quite like going on tour with the king and queen of pop culture. And their princess.
“It’s different than any other tour we’ve done,” says Everett, 25. “The thing that makes it different is that Jay-Z is in it too. I’ve been working with Beyonce for years but now that Jay is in it it’s a totally different ballgame. Different crowd. Different audiences. Different energy. And, we’re hearing his music all the time, so it adds a totally different element of cool.”
They travel by bus through the United States, and this tour – unlike Mrs. Carter – is only in stadiums, so in a weird way it gives the dance team of about eight people more time off. Mrs. Carter had daily show dates. OTR has shows with days off between gigs.
“It’s not as exhausting as other tours,” says Everett, who (understandably) turned down The Juilliard School to tour with Beyonce. “The venues are so big that they won’t tear down the stage and rebuild in a day, so we have to have a day off between. The show itself is somewhat tiring because it’s two and a half hours and if we’re not dancing, we’re changing. It’s non stop.”
Everett got her start with Alvin Ailey, and with her million mile legs, she went on to dance with the Radio City Rockettes. That’s where she was scouted by Frank Gatson, who is Beyonce’s choreographer. She’s been at the same gig for seven years. And in today’s world of high turnover, that’s really saying a lot about her employer and her coworkers.
“Things have changed in a good way and we’ve all grown and become women,” says Everett, originally from the northern California town of Chico. “I’ve been here since before she was married and had a baby, so it’s just evolved. She’s evolved as a woman and as an artist, and so have we. We all grew up. It’s cool to watch us all grow.”
In her downtime, Everett still works. She’s been featured on Glee and is working on boosting her own brand via her website ashleyeverett.com. She’s also working on releasing a lingerie line.
Oh yeah, for all you rabid fans, here’s your obligatory “all things Beyonce” paragraph.
Part of working with Beyonce means addressing – or ignoring – the rumors, and, answering all kinds of inane questions about her boss and coworkers. So here goes. No, she didn’t attend the wedding. (Why? Because it was just that intimate.) Yes, little baby Blue Ivy is adorable. (“She’s so cute and so smart and so sweet. She might be an actress. She’s a good actress these days. She might end up being a huge movie star. She also loves to dance and sing, so who knows?”) Yes, she’s heard all the Bey and Jay tea. And as for that divorce talk she only says this: “It’s always something. People just come up with stuff to say because they’re bored. [People] say any publicity is good publicity.. I don’t necessarily believe or agree, but it gets people talking and keeps people wanting to come to the shows. Of course it’s not true, it’s just racy.” Oh, and Bey really didn’t expect that last album to blow up. Not really. “She knew she was taking a risk by not releasing the single or any promo and she was probably the only person who could do that and get away with it.”
Got it? Good. See you at the show. Or, see you at that Shrine after party (according to Jay’s publicist, that party is actually official, so if you feel like waiting in line and piling in there, have at it.) Or, see you at Nouveau, where Everett swears she won’t be sitting in VIP making fun of everybody trying to dance just like her.
“I’m not a judger,” she says. “Get it girl!”
– Adrienne Samuels Gibbs