Everyone knows that Beyoncé is a queen who always slays.
Not everyone knows, however, that her fierce backup dancers are equally as captivating. Dance captain Ashley Everett has performed alongside Queen Bey for almost a decade and has grown her very own fanbase.
Everett is from a small town in Northern California and grew up in the incredibly disciplined ballet world. Starting at the mere age of two, Everett spent five hours dancing everyday, building a strong work ethic from a very young age.
When Everett was 16, she knew it was time for a change of pace if she wanted to continue her artistic growth. She pushed herself outside of her comfort zone and moved to New York with her family to find more challenging dance endeavors. While in the city, she attended Alvin Ailey and trained at the Broadway Dance Center.
In 2006, she auditioned for Beyoncé on a limb at earned a spot on The Beyoncé Experience Tour in 2007 when she was only 17 and was immediately hooked. When the tour was extended for four months, Everett gave up her life-long dream and spot at Julliard to continue learning from Beyoncé. 10 years out, Everett is the longest standing member of Queen Bey’s dance team.
Standing out next to Beyonce herself is no easy task, but Everett has managed to secure her own spotlight. Her individual fame was launched with the “Single Ladies” music video, in which she danced next to Beyoncé.
By the time she was 19, she was the team’s dance caption. In an interview with Refinery 29 Everett said, “It was tough because there were a lot of dancers on the team that I looked up to, and I didn’t want to be overly bossy. But I was experienced, I knew all of the routines and I was the most fluent in this Beyoncé language.”
Beyoncé’s seemingly endless desire to reach the next level is a major reason for Everett’s loyalty to the queen.
“She’s been a superstar for all these years, but she’s still not settling. She’s always pushing herself to the next level. That’s a key lesson: don’t get comfortable and don’t settle,” Everett said in an interview with Billboard, stressing that while everyone sees the glamorous side of the superstar’s life, there is a lot of hard work that goes unnoticed.
“I know that everyone knows she’s a hard worker, but I don’t think people understand how hard she and her whole team really do work. People on the team will go days without sleeping. Dancers, too. But she’s not sleeping, either,” Everett told Refinery29.
This dedication to the craft is something everyone on the team has in common. Even though Queen B has proved to be as driven and humble as the rest of her team, Everett confirmed to Refinery29 that no matter how long she works with Beyoncé, she will never stop being in awe of the Queen reliance and talent.
While being so close to a legend can be overwhelming, Everett is grateful she gets to learn from the best.
“I’m 28, so she’s seven years older than I am. I would consider her almost like a big sister. She’s been a big sister or mentor, whether she knows it or not. I’ve learned so much just being around her, just listening. I’m learning all the time from her, because she’s so intelligent and she knows so much about this industry.”
Everett told Billboard that she is excited to work on individual projects while Beyoncé focuses on her pregnancy and family but the second Queen Bey comes calling, she’ll be right back by her side.