How does a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader make a career transition from cheering on the sidelines to owning her own barre business? For Ashton Little, the evolution was natural, if not serendipitous. Ashton was a competitive dancer turned cheerleader turned barre instructor before she made the leap to purchase The Bar Method Southlake studio where she had led classes for years. We talked with Ashton about how her lifelong passion for dance led to her forever love for barre.
The Bar Method: Tell us about your background as a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader and how you came to start your journey with The Bar Method.
Ashton: I started dancing competitively at the age of 10. I always knew that I wanted to pursue dance in college or professionally. When I was 17 and 18, I won the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders soloist competition and received an invitation to move straight to semi-finals. I decided to go for it! The alternative plan was to attend Texas A&M University.
I actually experienced my first Bar Method class with Lisa Hennings (owner of The Bar Method Dallas-Park Cities) at Valley Ranch—Dallas Cowboys headquarters at the time. She came a few times to teach before our cheer rehearsals. However, I feel like my real taste of The Bar Method came through Nicole Bulcher. We cheered together for two years and in 2016, she reached out to me about training for her new studio in Southlake, Texas. The rest is history! 🙂
The Bar Method: What parallels or similarities have you found between your professional cheerleading experience and your barre experience?
Ashton: I love how barre constantly challenges you as an instructor, teammate and student. It NEVER gets easier and creates a mental toughness that I had to have while dancing professionally for the Dallas Cowboys. Both environments motivate you to push past personal limitations and dive deeper into your purpose.
The Bar Method: You were an instructor at The Bar Method-Southlake for years—how many years? What made you decide to become an owner?
Ashton: I was there from the beginning. I went through training in the summer of 2016 and taught opening day in January of 2017. I have been teaching for four and a half years now! It is amazing how it has flown by. Barre has sharpened by dance instructing skills and I am grateful for the growth I have seen in my personal life and career. Honestly, I never entertained the idea of owning my own studio! I have been a dance director, instructor and freelance choreographer for years. I always assumed dance would be my main focus. However, that sure shifted when I was approached about the future of The Bar Method Southlake. I realized this is something I could see myself carrying on. The community is so strong and I am surrounded by some really cool women.
The Bar Method: What do you think is the most common misconception that people have about barre or The Bar Method?
Ashton: That is a tough one. I would say either that “barre is only for dancers” OR that it isn’t “hard” enough. Usually, these misconceptions come from people who have never experienced a class. The truth is that barre is one of the most difficult, but rewarding workouts I have ever done. Commitment and consistency are KEY to noticing the most transformation in your mind and body. The Bar Method caters to ALL walks of life. The beauty of the method is that it cultivates an inner strength that translates into your everyday life.
The Bar Method: You have a daughter who frequents the studio with you—what does she love about The Bar Method?
Ashton: Taya is my greatest joy. She was 10 months old when I initially went through training (YES, this made it even more challenging!). She does not remember a time without The Bar Method! She LOVES being a part of the “girl gang.” From day one, she was welcomed into the studio and fell in love with our instructors! Taya is old enough now to hang out with mommy at work. She greets clients, assists with folding towels and helps clean up the rooms after class. She truly just loves what I love and it is SO special.
How have you grown from being a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader into a barre instructor, momma and now business owner?
Oh goodness. I feel like an entirely different human from where I was 10 years ago I have spent most of my life surrounded by extremely talented and competitive women. Over the years, I have learned to love and celebrate the success of others around me. The gifts you see in others can either complement your own OR fuel unhealthy competition.We get to choose. When you celebrate the victories of those around you it brings freedom to walk out your own calling. I try to find new ways to learn from the women who surround me and focus on the importance of every person.
Motherhood exposes you and gives you a crystal clear picture of unconditional love. This love begins to mature and consume every bone in your body until you are overflowing with this fruit. It is not easy to love people but it is necessary. Taya gave me the opportunity to see others in a different light. Choosing to walk in this love truly transforms your outlook on life and your purpose.
Where do you envision yourself and The Bar Method in five years?
I see The Bar Method as an oasis of hope for women from all over for many years to come. There is something so special about how the “method” connects so many to one another. The goal is to share our special place with as many women as possible.