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Meet Ashley Yano and Hilary Pawlik of Artist Entrance Dance Company in North Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Yano and Hilary Pawlik.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ashley and Hilary. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Hilary Pawlik and I met 15 years ago dancing professionally in a show. Dancers tend to teach as a side hustle and Hilary asked if I would substitute teach one of her dance classes. This led to a more permanent job teaching together, which led to Choreographing together, which ultimately led to growing together as creatives.

We share the same passion for artistry in dance and believe that solid technical training creates longevity in this business! We realized we had a formula for something special and decided to take a leap of faith and start our company, Artist Entrance Dance Company!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We’ve been VERY fortunate in finding 13 incredibly talented, passionate, driven young artists who believe in what we do as a company!

With that being said, however, you know they say about artists? I believe the term is “tortured artists” and Hilary and I definitely fall into that category at times! We are both the creatives and the businesswomen and wearing both hats can be challenging.

We are constantly striving to put out work for our students that enables them to grow and evolve, work that challenges us as Artistic Directors.

The other challenge we face is, while there are dance studios on every corner, (most of which Hilary and I have taught for!) there are few pre-professional dance companies that do what we do. We find ourselves learning as we go, which has its ups and downs for sure! But at the end of the day, the challenges we face pale in comparison to what we gain!

Artist Entrance Dance Company – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Artist Entrance Dance Company is a pre-professional Contemporary dance company for dedicated young artists between the ages of 12-18. Our program is geared towards dancers who are highly-trained and have a serious desire to continue dance at a college conservatory, dance in a professional company and/or pursue a career as a professional commercial dancer.

We provide advanced dance training as well as performing opportunities to help prepare them for the dance industry! Some of those opportunities include dancing in a short film that we produce each season, which is professionally shot and edited, giving them an opportunity to understand what it takes to dance on film. We also put on a full-length dance concert In the Spring and performances throughout the entire season.

When conceptualizing the company, it was very important to Hilary and I that we function similarly to a professional company. Artist Entrance meets one night a week for 4 hours. Within the 4 hours, we train for 2 and rehearse for upcoming performances for 2. We are focused, disciplined and driven to utilize our time as well as our dancers’ time wisely! This also allows our dancers to diversify their training- taking class from different choreographers in different disciplines as well, which makes them versatile dancers!

This is what sets us apart from others- this formula of very focused, efficient work in a shorter period of time. Our dancers work incredibly hard and yet still have balance in their lives, which is difficult when you are a serious young dancer! If you are dancing at a studio, you LIVE at the studio and are rarely given the freedom to train elsewhere- Hilary and I are committed to helping these dancers elevate their craft!

How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
What a great question! I think, simply, success in our business is defined by developing a strong, balanced, passionate young dancer and human.

Because we are so passionate about cultivating young talent, Hilary and I love seeing our company members grow as artists. This also helps their sense of confidence and self-esteem which is so important during this period of their lives. Many of our alumni have been featured in commercials, music videos, and most have gone on to major in Dance! We currently have alumni at NYU TISCH School of the Arts, UCLA, and University of Oklahoma.

Contact Info:

  • Website: artistentrancedanceco.com
  • Phone: 310-210-4021
  • Email: artistentrancedanceco@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @ArtistEntrance
  • Twitter: @artistentrance


Image Credit:
All photos by Nikki Dalonzo Photography 🙂

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