Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie might be at the top of her game—she just received two Bessie Award nominations and her company makes its Jacob's Pillow debut next month—but she still suffers from self-doubt and perfectionism. When she began taking breaking classes from Robert "Break Easy" Santiago in Brooklyn, New York, she had to draw upon her self-confidence to successfully battle with other break dancers.
"When I was finally ready to start battling, Robert told me: 'The hardest battle will always be with yourself.' As artists, we're ripe with self-doubt, because creating and performing work is such a vulnerable thing. Robert helped me confront that vulnerability in a way that made it manageable. When you battle another dancer, it's all about reacting to that person. You have to have the confidence to say, 'Well, maybe I can't do that movement that she did, but whatever I'm doing is going to top that, because I know my own value. I can define my worth as a dancer.'"
Ephrat Asherie Dance performs at Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out series on August 7.
Photo by Christiana Marcelli