Ashley May Coussens
Ashley May Coussens currently serves as Director of Education at Dance & Music Academy, in addition to teaching as part of our faculty. She is a graduate of Northwestern University's School of Communication, where she studied Dance, Theatre, and Business Institutions. Ashley has worked administratively in external relations and fundraising for several arts organizations and educational non-profits, including Youth American Grand Prix, The Joffrey Ballet, The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Heron Agency, Northwestern University, and the University of Chicago. Since its inception in 2011, Ashley has been a member of the Auditorium Theatre's Auxiliary Board, where she currently serves on the Marketing Committee and previously served as a member of Event Planning Committee and Fundraising Committee, in addition to Secretary of the Executive Committee. Artistically, Ashley has performed with Trifecta Dance Collective, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Aerial Dance Chicago, Ballet Légere, and Rephrase Dance Collective, as well as the televised McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Chicago Lights Festival Parade. Ashley has been performing professionally, as well as teaching and choreographing, for over 10 years, and her original choreography has been selected for the Dance Chicago festival. Ashley has trained at Joffrey Academy of Dance, Hubbard Street's Lou Conte Dance Studio, Visceral Dance Chicago, American Rhythm Center, Joel Hall Dance Center, Gus Giordano Dance Center, Aerial Dance Chicago, Aloft Circus Arts, Trapeze School of New York, Actors Gymnasium, River North Dance Chicago, The School of Performing Arts, and Inaside Dance Chicago (Merit Scholarship Recipient). Having worked with several winners of the Joseph Jefferson ("Jeff") Award and Ruth Page Award, Ashley began her career as a performer and Dance Captain at Chicago's former American Girl Place Theater, and she is a graduate of the National High School Institute's "Cherubs" program for theatre arts. Ashley has had extensive teaching experience, having worked for Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development, French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, and numerous Chicago schools and arts programs. Ashley has a strong passion for encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to find empowerment through arts education, and she is thrilled to be part of the amazing community at Dance & Music Academy!