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  • Writer's pictureSarah Nantel


I’m Ashley! Originally from Ontario, I’ve lived in Calgary for a total of 5.5 years now. I moved here originally for dance pursuits and that’s ultimately what brought me back. I had spent years dancing professionally and then turned to teaching, much like my mom who was my dance teacher! This time my partner came along with me and we’ve been enjoying Calgary very much ever since.

What is your business and what inspired you to start your business?

I am a location licensee for the Army of Sass. It is a confidence boosting heels dance performance program for all levels, above 18+. I had been a performer for several years but had faced the challenges of not being the right “look”. I persevered through that but wanted to a way to promote empowerment and confidence no matter what size, age, gender… whatever, you might be! AOS had been around in Toronto for several years and I finally signed myself up. Long story short- it was the platform I had been looking for.

What is your proudest moment with your business?

My proudest moments are when I see the lives of my students change for the better. There’s something about AOS that gives the confidence to make bold and positive choices in daily life. At the end of every show we do our signature dance “Salute”. Even though it’s not an emotional dance or song, I can’t help but getting misty eyed every time. Dance steps can be practiced, mastered and maintained however the gift of self-love and confidence is something completely different on its own. The fact that through AOS and myself that can be attained, is unbelievable.

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

Constantly being aware of the community that surrounds me and the power that it holds. That goes from my students all the way across the country to the other AOS Licensees and locations. I think of the times where my motivation and inspiration lacked and the idea that it’s my responsibility to provide that to my students really keeps me going. Also, continually challenging myself to grow as a person and instructor. This motivation can come from various facets of dance inspiration or on the other end of the spectrum like big hikes, travel, reading and music. Lastly, allowing space for patience with yourself. That is key and sometimes the most fantastic things come from it!

How do you maintain a work-life balance?

Well- my work tends to be my life so it’s hard. I guess I’m lucky that way. I have a partner that really knows how to keep me balanced so day trips to the mountains are a great quick fix. Other than that, it’s the little things like cups of tea, yoga, bubble baths and dance classes!

Where can you be reached?


Facebook: Army of Sass Calgary Instagram: @aoscalgary or @ashley_emilda


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