At Inner Voice Artists, we aim to not only be a platform for music, film and global change, but for the artists and global changemakers who create them.
Our Artist Spotlight series aims to create a space for discovery of new, budding global talent, while simultaneously offering you an exclusive glimpse into their creative process.
In this week’s edition, we’re introducing the professionally trained dancer and aspiring musical theater actor Avery Ambrefe!
Shortly after graduating high school Ambrefe said goodbye to her hometown of Boston, Massachusetts and relocated to New York City in pursuit of achieving her dancing dreams!
Prior to the move, Ambrefe had spent six consecutive summers in NYC training with the Radio City Rockettes through their summer intensive. Ambrefe, who took her first dance class at two-years-old, also has trained extensively in tap, jazz, theater, contemporary, hip hop and ballet.
Currently she is employed by Broadway Dance Company and has recently started dipping her toe into NYC's musical theater world as well. At the young age of only 19, Ambrefe aspires to turn her dreams of performing on Broadway and becoming a Radio City Rockette a reality.
1. What inspires you and your creative process? I’m mainly inspired by the passion of the artists around me. When I’m in a room with people who genuinely love what they’re doing and are putting their all into each movement, it makes me want to do the same. My creative process is always rooted in some kind of feeling or emotion. It could be joy, or flirtation or mystery. Whatever it is, I want that feeling to be the inspiration for each movement. Something simple like a shoulder roll can have so many different meanings behind it based on your intention. It could be coy and flirty, or aggressive and angry. The emotion that you put into the movement can alter the impact in so many ways.
Another thing I love to do is to see what happens when you give a group of dancers full artistic liberty. When there’s passion behind their dancing, the base steps turn into stylized movement which is interesting to watch. It’s amazing to see what the body naturally does when you have free reign to explore, and sometimes the best ideas come from accidents or “mistakes”.
2. What is the connection between your dance and social justice? Why? I believe that art is an integral part of any social justice conversation! Music and dancing are universal, and there’s a certain type of understanding and communication that is achieved through these art forms, even across social barriers. Using dance as a medium to express your feelings on certain social justice conflicts can be incredibly impactful because any viewer can immediately connect to and identify with the emotions being expressed. Dance has opened up conversations about so many social justice issues, and I believe it’s really true that life imitates art, so we must make our art united and strong.
As part of the musical theater community, I’m so proud of the shows that have made it a priority to open up social justice conversations. There’s Hamilton, which reminds us all of our immigrant past, and The Prom, which features a lesbian kiss on stage showing us just how beautiful love is no matter what form it comes in. We must remember that we are all humans first, experiencing this crazy and wonderful life together.
3. What inspired you to pursue dance? What were the challenges you overcame in this? I was put in dance classes by my parents as soon as I could walk, and I’ve always been so grateful for that. I believe that innately, we all feel the need to move when we hear music, and sometimes there is simply no way to express what you want to say through words alone. Throughout my training, I’ve been inspired by artists who can tell a full story all through their movement. It’s fascinating how you can know exactly what they’re saying even when there’s no dialogue involved. I’m also inspired by dancers who exude joy. You can feel their joy from the audience, and it is super impactful. The thought that I could lift someone’s spirits with my own passion is definitely something that keeps me going.
That being said, becoming a professional dancer is no easy feat. There’s the physical aspect of pushing your body to its limits, feeling exhaustion, and fighting through pain. Potentially more challenging than that is the emotional and mental aspect. This can include self doubt, fear of judgement and frustration as well as dramatic highs and lows. It’s been really important for me to find hobbies and other activities I’m passionate about to ensure that I have sources of joy in my life besides my art. For me, this looks like brunch with my friends, baking with my mom, and reading a book in Bryant Park all by myself when I get the chance. There’s a careful balance between being fully devoted to your work, and becoming obsessed to a negative extent. I’m constantly working to find this balance for myself, and I think it’s so important!
4. What’s been the most rewarding part of being an artist for you? Do you have any advice for future artists? The absolute freedom I feel when I move, and the ability to communicate with others through dancing. I love how I can express myself without speaking, and how others understand. There’s an energy that you feel when everyone is moving and breathing together, and it’s magical. There are times I’ll have to take a moment in class to just breathe it all in and observe the amazing artistic choices being made by those around me. Another high comes from performance. The adrenaline and excitement I feel on stage is unbeatable. I can’t lie, approval from an audience isn’t so bad either. Seeing people jump to their feet after you perform is a special type of feeling that really validates all the hard work that goes into achieving a polished performance. I would advise aspiring dancers to always find time to reconnect with themselves and remember why they love to dance.
It can be really overwhelming when you’re trying to match someone else’s style in an audition or in rehearsal, so it’s important to know who you are as an artist first. It’s also okay for that to evolve! In fact, it should. I’m not the same dancer I was a year ago, let alone a month ago. Every experience I have shapes me a little bit more into the dancer I’m becoming, and I love that. Keep your artistry open and never allow yourself to become stagnant. Feel the victories when you achieve your goals, but don’t ever limit yourself and keep trying things that make you uncomfortable. It’s in the moments where you think you can’t do it when you’ll grow the most, and become the artist and person that you’re destined to be.
Thank you for your continuous support and love,
Lots of love,