Ally Vega is a choreographer, performer, and dance educator based in Los Angeles. She was largely inspired by her father’s career as a dance instructor, which inspired her to take a similar path to pursue dance professionally. Now, Vega is the founder and director of her dance collective, Ancestral Vision Movement, as well as a choreographer for Supportive White Parents. She even married her profession with her passion, anime, by becoming the first choreographer for the largest convention in North America, Anime Expo! Vega works with the Pilipino Workers Center in LA, an amazing nonprofit that “aims to secure the dignity and safety of the Pilipinx community… and build labor leaders in the domestic worker industry.” And on top of it all? Vega is ambidextrous! Her advice to young artists is to “give [themselves] permission to explore the things that make [them] curious.” Read on to learn more about Ally Vega and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Ally Vega
Heritage: Filipina American
Hometown: Anaheim, CA
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
Founder and Director of Ancestral Vision Movement Dance Collective, Choreographer, Dance Instructor, and Yoga/Meditation Guide
What are some of your favorite credits/projects?
I'd say it's a tie between starting my dance collective and choreographing for the musical comedy Supportive White Parents.
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
Give yourself permission to explore the things that make you curious.
How did you get your start?
My dad used to be a dancer and dance instructor, so he put my sister and I in dance classes when we were young. It took me a while to take it seriously, but eventually I realized I couldn't live without dance, so I pursued it professionally after I graduated college.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you'd like to share?
I'd say it's a tie between performing with my dance collective at the LAX International airport and choreographing for the musical comedy Supportive White Parents. Both were amazing opportunities that helped me grow a lot as a creative and a human.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
Surrendering to the ebbs and flows of living a freelance creative life. You never know when you're going to get that email or phone call that has your next opportunity waiting, so it's about enjoying the journey even when nothing "big" is happening.
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I love anime! I started going to anime conventions when I was 11 years old, and I was the first choreographer hired at Anime Expo, the biggest anime convention in North America.
Do you have any organizations or non profits you work with you’d like to highlight?
Yes! Big shout out to the Pilipino Workers Center. I've collaborated with them many times on different projects and events and they are truly some of the best humans in Los Angeles. They are so giving and wonderful, and I just appreciate how much they support me and my work.
Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?
I got my bachelors degree in Communication Studies at Cal State Long Beach. I originally was trying to have a career in entertainment journalism, but that quickly changed once I realized I didn't have the patience to be in that industry (lol).
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
It wasn't until 2015. It took me a while to step into my power and my voice. I didn't think I was worthy of pursuing a creative career, but after I graduated, I was around dance all the time, and it was impossible for me to deny I wanted this to be my life.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
I used to be a brand ambassador for a popular LA magazine from 2015-17, so I was basically those people you'd see at a booth giving away free things and trying to get you to sign up for an email newsletter. I met some awesome people (I'm still friends with some!), but I definitely have my fair share of crazy experiences because I was sent to pretty much every part of LA you could imagine.
Do you have any other “special skills?
I'm ambidextrous! I write with my left hand, but I can be right-handed in other random tasks like using scissors, cutting vegetables, or doing martial arts and sports.
Where did you study at?
Cal State Long Beach (Go Beach!).
What are some goals you hope to achieve?
I want to choreograph for Asian/Asian American recording artists. I think the shared experience of being Asian allows me to understand how to bring out the best in people so that they can bring their most authentic selves to the stage or camera.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love being able to connect with all kinds of people. I've taught as young as four year olds to 50 year olds. It's truly an honor getting to meet all kinds of people to help them feel present in their bodies, whether they're just learning how to take care of their bodies through yoga or if they want to explore their bodies creatively through dance.
Do you have any self care practices you do to stay focused and sane? What was your self care routine before the pandemic and how has that (as well as your views of self care) changed throughout the pandemic?
My current self care routine is just exercising that "no" muscle. I think it's crucial as creatives, especially women of color creatives, to really exercise our boundaries in all the spaces we occupy. It gets really easy to just say yes to everything, especially if we've been conditioned to be people pleasers our whole lives, but you'll burn out SO fast. And as creatives, we need to always be giving from a full cup, which means we need to choose wisely how we spend our time and energy. Friendly reminder -- it's vital to say YES to yourself! Yes to the night in, yes to the long nap, yes to the wild night out. Don't forget to make sure your cup is full.
If you’ve crossed the table from performing to being on a creative team, what made you take the leap, and how did it change your way of thinking?
I currently go back and forth between performing and being on the creative side and I honestly love the challenge. It truly is two different skill sets that you have to put in the time to get good and comfortable at. If I had to choose one, I'd go with being on the creative side because I just love the thrill of creating a whole world and universe and helping bring that to life with other people. I'm also an Aries, so I love leading and directing (lol). I will say being able to switch back and forth between performing and being on the creative side allows me to understand the small details that most creatives wouldn't think about for their performers (or most performers wouldn't think about on the creative side). I like being a well-rounded kind of girl.
What inspires you?
My family, my friends, my community, and my students. I am constantly learning from everyone around me and I think that's what keeps the inspiration forever flowing. You are always surrounded by new ideas as long as you stay open minded and curious.
To find out more about Ally, please visit her at:
Facebook: @ Ally Vega
Ally’s dance collective: www.ancestralvisionmovement.com.
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