Ashley Roland and Jamey Hampton
In matching army-green jackets, BodyVox Dance Company’s two artistic directors form an indistinguishable blur of movement. As Jamey Hampton takes dancers through a new routine, his wife, Ashley Roland, retreats to a loftlike structure above the stage that the couple refer to as “the nest,” and begins tossing potential costume pieces out of a theater-facing window onto the stage. Ashley then jumps in for Jamey, coaching the perspiring troupe through steps that mimic a flock of sheep, while Jamey withdraws to his laptop to splice video clips together.
This jumble of motion is a fitting staging ground for the frantic energy of BodyVox’s October offering, Horizontal Leanings. Multimedia to the core, the dance studio steers clear of easy formulas, juxtaposing film and sound clips with live movement. “When we finish a show and the recipe is perfect,” says Ashley, “everything fits in place like a giant working clock.”
Jamey’s style leans toward graceful meditations on “beauty and longing,” while Ashley favors absurdist slapstick à la Bugs Bunny. To keep the balance, each wields an ironclad veto. But even for this seasoned pair—who joined forces 28 years and three dance companies ago—reaching that final unity of vision means hard work and late nights. “Even if we’re cooking dinner,” says Ashley, “we’re always throwing out ideas, constantly bantering back and forth.”
That creative closeness has other benefits, too. “If I went home to someone who asked, ‘What did you do today, honey?’” asks Jamey, “where would I start?”—AA