Teacher ‘leaps’ into drill team director position

Dance teacher continues sharing her passion with students


Photo Courtesy of Ashley Sharp

Wearing her ballet pointe shoes, Talonette director Ashley Sharp takes a moment to sit during a photo shoot. This school year marks Sharp’s first at Prosper High School as director of the Talonettes drill team. “I started dancing in pre-K,” Sharp said. “A lot of people start so young, I started with ballet and tap. It was something that I really, really, enjoyed.”

Since she was 2 years old, she’s had two homes.

Her second one is the dance studio.

Now, Ashley Sharp, gets to share her passion – and one of her homes – with her students.

This year marks Sharp’s first as the drill team director for the Prosper High School Talonettes. 

“I started dancing in pre-K,” Sharp said. “A lot of people start so young, I started with ballet and tap. It was something that I really, really, enjoyed.”

Sharp began dancing at her church, and, when she got to high school, she joined the dance team. 

“I just liked it.” Sharp said, “I was really good at it, and it was fun so it was kind of like a release, so I just kept doing it. So once I started getting better I just wanted to keep getting better.”

Sharp said she has always been determined to improve since day 1.

 “I learned everything that I knew through church,” Sharp said. “Which is different because we kind of structure our church like a baby dance company.”

“Ms. Sharp gives very clear critiques and instructions. She is very encouraging and pushes you to do your best.”

— Caitlyn Ketzle, Freshman

Before knowing that she wanted to share her love of dance with others, Sharp planned to major in biochemistry. Though, after leaving high school, Sharp joined her college’s dance team at Stephen F. Austin University – and soon after changed her major to dance.

“When I went to college, and I tried out for the team, I learned some more knowledge,” Sharp said. “So, that’s how I got my start.”

Before coming to Prosper as a coach, Sharp was the junior varsity drill team director in Garland ISD for five years. As excited as Sharp said she was to move schools, she also knew that there would be obstacles. 

“It’s always challenging to come into something that’s already set, and then try to not necessarily change what’s been there in the past, but to elevate, as supposed to take away,” Sharp said. “So, it’s hard to try to walk that balance of doing too much or not doing enough. It’s kind of hard to figure out what boundaries you can push without making everything totally different.”

My favorite part of Ms. Sharp is her determination toward anything she does. She is dedicated to anyone she meets, and she is everyone’s biggest supporter. Ms. Sharp is goal oriented, and when she sets her mind on something, she will follow through.

— Kendall St. John, Sophomore Talonette

Sharp said it was frightening to start somewhere new. But, besides directing high school drill teams, Sharp has also taught drill team prep and a leaps-and-turns class at a studio for two years.

“I was at my past school for five years, so you become comfortable, and you know everyone. You know the administrators – the kids,” Sharp said. “It’s like a comfort zone, and then you’re thrown into a whole different environment on the other side. It feels like the other side of the world because Prosper is so far.” 

The drive was the hardest thing to get used to for Sharp.

“My old school was six minutes away, and now I am 25 minutes away, so I had to adjust,” Sharp said. “That was like the hardest thing because I had to wake up earlier and go to sleep earlier. It’s kind of harder.” 

Isabella Parish is the assistant director of the Talonettes, and works alongside Sharp.

“My right hand is Ms. Parish. That’s my girl,” Sharp said. “Without her, I would literally be drowning. She is like good at the things that I don’t know how to do, or I am not good at. She is really good at it. She remembers everything because I forget everything. So, if she doesn’t remember, no one is going to remember.”

Parish also helps Sharp choreograph dances for the Talonettes drill team and dance classes.

“We choreograph dances so quickly because we literally have the same brain, and we think the same,” Sharp said. “We have the same passions, and so she’s a person I know I can rely on 110%. If I wasn’t here for five months, I know that the team will still function, and dance classes will still function.” 

The Talonettes start practice everyday at 7:15 a.m.

“We do technique every Tuesday because it’s the foundation of everything that we do,” Sharp said. “So, we try to hit it every Tuesday, and we haven’t missed a Tuesday yet. We go in and review dances. We run things. We post videos, so we know what to work on if they weren’t here. Then, we go into dance classes.”

Sharp also goes down to the middle schools to build connections between the two buildings.

It’s been so great having Ms. Sharp come to work with the MS drill teams. She’s able to work with us on how to improve, to better ourselves for each performance and high school drill team. We are currently focusing on our competition dances, so she’s been very helpful in giving critiques and feedback.

— Alexandra Shepherd, Reynolds MS Eagle Darlings Dance & Drill Team Director

 “I think it’s really good that the high school directors get to go to the middle school now,” Sharp said. “Now, the middle schools have someone that can help them reach their goal easier and quicker, so they know what they need to work on before they get to tryouts because, a director who is over the drill team at the high school, is guiding them, as well.” 

Sharp said she likes to give credit to all of the dance directors she had growing up.

“Those people, I really looked up to them because they taught me everything I know,” Sharp said.  “I really looked up to my high school director, even though we bumped heads. I look up to her because now I know how to handle people that act like me.”

The Talonettes had their first contest on Feb. 5, where they took first in their divisions. Sharp said she uses different techniques to prepare the dancers.

“I go into a lot of speeches,” Sharp said.  “I really like to talk, so I just talk a lot, and I use things that I’ve been through that I know that I’ve experienced since I’ve been dancing for so long. So, I try to take my experiences and let them know they are not alone, and other people have been through the same thing they are going through.”

Sharp also said that this is how she connects with people.

“I am very much an open book, so I feel like the more personal a coach or a director is, the easier it is for someone to come to them if they are going through anything, or they need motivation,” Sharp said. “It’s easier to talk to someone who is open with them, as well. So, I just try to let our team know that we are trying to reach a goal, so then everyday our goal is we can always be working to be better – even if we are already accomplishing so many things. Just being better and continue to work.”