Spotlight: Ashley Archer has head start on teaching dance

Ashley Archer takes lessons and teaches at Ferndale Dance.
Ashley Archer takes lessons and teaches at Ferndale Dance. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Ashley Archer doesn’t just love dance. She lives dance.

She also teaches dance at Ferndale Dance. The 12-year-old has been a student teacher at Ferndale Dance since she was 9 years old, helping the dance teachers with younger students in classes like baby ballet.

Archer has danced since she was 3.

“I was always dancing,” she said. “Any time I heard music, any music, I would dance.”

Six years ago she started dancing at Ferndale Dance after meeting one of its owners, Hanna Willis, and her family at her church vacation Bible school.

“She really has a heart for dance,” Willis said.

“I started with one class, then I took two and then three,” Archer said.

Now she spends at least three hours each day, four days a week, at the studio. She excels in lyrical and ballet dance, but is also proficient in jazz and tap.

For her, dance is a natural part of life.

“Dance helps me keep my mind off things,” Archer said.

She loves helping teach the dance classes with younger students.

“I’m really energetic, so I really encourage the girls to get out there,” Archer said.

During the past three years she has watched her dance students grow, change and excel.

“I’ve been able to watch them move up and get better,” she said.

One of those students is her sister, Ella, whom she describes as a wonderful dancer, but a complete opposite in terms of style.

“I’m into ballet, but she likes fast music. She’s hip-hop, hip-hop, all the time,” Archer said.

Still, Archer choreographs ballet compositions for her sister, although she admits her sister’s patience doesn’t last long with the classical music.

Archer’s dream is to be a dance teacher and possibly own her own studio. She says she’s thankful that her parents support her long hours at the studio. While she has tried to become involved in school sports and other activities, dance always wins out with her time and interest.

“Dance is my true passion,” she said.


Spotlight shines on children 12 or younger who excel in arts or education, and shares how their parents helped them achieve success.

To suggest a child to profile, send their name and a brief description of their accomplishments, along with a parent’s name and contact information, to newsroom@bellinghamherald.com.