Ashley and Pasha’s Paso Doble

Ashley is an incredible dancer. There’s no point denying that she has dance experience and therefore I’ll say this first thing:

  1. Being a professional dancer obviously means you can dance and that you have a trained and physically fit and expressive body.
  2. But being a professional dancer doesn’t mean you know and can easily do the different Latin and Ballroom styles.
  3. Being a professional dancer doesn’t make it a given that you perform incredible routines that push your physical and emotional boundaries week after week.
  4. Being a professional dancer doesn’t make it a given that you invest your heart and soul in every performance.
  5. I’ve found it shocking and horrible to see how many nasty comments have been publicly made about Ashley. Why so much poison? She’s a human being, she loves the show, she loves dancing and she dances wonderfully.
  6. If you have a problem with professional dancers being on the show, write a polite letter to the BBC.

Dedication, attention and devotion

Now, without further ado: what a performance! The dedication, even devotion, Ashley applies to each dance is commendable and impressive. She is so respectful of our art form. She is sensitive, listens closely to what Pasha teaches her and then pays a lot of attention to how she can truthfully embody the feeling and characteristics of each dance style.

Ashley doesn’t just execute a step or a move, she stretches, suspends, compresses or explodes it to become one with the music.

This Paso Doble was fierce and intense. It was a masterclass in focus and strength applied in the right places and oozed passion from beginning to end. Ashley’s technical prowess shone and we were treated to an intricate, complex and sophisticated performance! The way she doesn’t just execute a step or a move, but stretches, suspends, compresses or explodes it to express alongside and fuse with the music, to become one with the music, is fascinating to watch.

Stylishness vs. rawness?

In a Paso Doble, I often wonder about the balance or relationship between stylishness and rawness. Obviously, this, as everything else in dance, is a matter of personal taste. I love a raw and extremely expansive Paso Doble, and I found some movements in this performance too clipped and would have wished for an even more elaborate interplay of strong staccato moments with fluid, wide and expansive moments.

On Strictly, we are fortunate to see many different interpretations of the Latin and Ballroom dances. It’s a great creative celebration and gives us lots of beautiful moments and plenty of inspiration. As a professional dancer I love being challenged and seeing varied ways of interpreting music through choreography and physicality.

How do you like your Paso Doble best? Or do you relish the variety we get to see on Strictly?

Ashley and Pasha’s Paso Doble in Week 12 of Strictly Come Dancing 2018

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