Ashley Bowman & Claire Hancock
Founding Artistic Directors
photos by Taylor Noel Photography
Founding Artistic Directors Ashley Bowman and Claire Hancock come from diverse backgrounds of training and performance in ballet, modern, jazz and contemporary repertoire. Prior to founding Artifact Dance Project, they danced for professional companies including River North Dance, ODC San Fransisco and Ohio Ballet. They hold multiple degrees in dance from world-class institutions including the University of Arizona School of Dance in Tucson, Arizona and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London. Both women have danced principal roles in works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, José Limón, Gus Giordano and more. Their roots of training are heavily based in Tucson, Arizona. Artifact Dance Project is a proud collective of talent and art within their community.
Ashley and Claire formed a symbiotic working relationship in their masters studies at the University of Arizona School of Dance 2007-2009. They share a common passion for staging narrative works through contemporary movement with music as the primary source of creativity. In the spring of 2009 they premiered a collaborative thesis and capstone of their degree work in a concert titled “Artifact”. They identified with the word’s three parts - “art, if, act”. This inspired them to consider the way in which “art” exists “if” you “act” upon your ideas to create it. The concert was a culmination of their choreographic works, several of their early dance films, and featured music compositions of old and new performed by a group of professional musicians. The audience was positively overwhelmed by the innovation, collaboration and fusion of art forms and whispers of wanting a company directed by the two women immediately spread in response.
In the Fall of 2009, Artifact Dance Project became a professional company and non-profit organization. The company’s relationship between dance and music continues to thrive.
Artistic Director and Managing Director
Ashley Bowman is a founding member of Artifact Dance Project alongside Claire Hancock. Since 2009, she has choreographed and directed several original large-scale narrative works for the company and shaped many collaborations in music, art and film. Ashley holds a BFA and MFA from the University of Arizona School of Dance where she was the recipient of the Maria Mandel Scholarship, The Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, and the Creative Achievement Award. She is the recipient of the 2011 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award given to up-and-coming artists within the Tucson Community. She received her early training under Mary Beth Cabana, director of Ballet Tucson. Ashley danced for Ohio Ballet under Jeffery Graham Hughes. She has danced principal and supporting roles across many dance genres, specifically ballet. As Managing Director for Artifact, she oversees all items of business in addition to designing all marketing materials. She served as graphic artist for the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts and School of Dance 2009-2015. Ashley appeared twice for TEDx as a presenter, most recently in the 2018 “Connect the Dots” conference. She served as a 2018 grant panelist for The Arts Foundation of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Arkansas Center for the Arts recently hosted Ashley as a guest lecturer to a sold-out audience. Her integrative and successful approach to dance and visual art instruction for children was recently presented at the Tucson Museum of Art for Family Day. She is a proud mother of her baby girl, Colette.
Claire Hancock holds a Master of Arts degree in European Dance Theatre from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, England, and earned both a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from the University of Arizona. In 2009 she began collaborating with colleague Ashley Bowman, and upon sharing their masters’ theses concert together, Hancock and Bowman co-founded Artifact Dance Project. They have been creating main stage concerts, short dance films and collaborative projects together ever since. In addition to her featured performances with Artifact, Claire performs as an actress with the Rogue Theatre and Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre. She has danced professionally with ODC/San Francisco and River North Dance Company in Chicago, and has been a guest teacher and choreographer for organizations including the Limón Institute, Broadway Theatre Project, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Arizona Theatre Company, Arizona Opera, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, True Concord: Voices and Orchestra, Arts Express, and Broadway in Tucson. Formative years of study include scholarships to the Houston Ballet Academy, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. She has served as rehearsal assistant for Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes and End of Time, as well as George Balanchine’s Serenade and The Four Temperaments, reporting to Leslie Peck and Elyse Borne, repetiteurs for the Balanchine Trust. Claire is a repetiteur for several of the late choreographer David Berkey’s works including his signature piece, Sentinel, which she has staged for Vassar College in New York, the New Mexico Dance Institute, and the University of Arizona and Artifact Dance Project. She is a Qualified Fletcher Pilates® teacher at Body Works Pilates™ in Tucson, AZ.
David’s first experience working in professional theater was in 1981 when he was a high school intern at Arizona Theatre Company. From 1984 to 1988 David studied stage management at CalArts, graduating with a BFA. Afterwards, David worked as an Equity stage manager for New Mexico Repertory Theatre, in Santa Fe, NM and for Grove Shakespeare Festival in Orange County, CA. In 1990 David began working at The Santa Fe Opera, where he became Box Office Manager. After five years of box office management, David moved back to Tucson, where he worked as Group Sales Coordinator for UA Presents. In 1998 David moved to New York to study performing arts administration at New York University while working as the Production Manager for NYU’s Program Board and the Program Coordinator for the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival. After a year in NYC, David decided to follow a new career path and moved to Santa Fe to study psychotherapy at Southwestern College. David returned to Tucson in 2001 and took a job as the Special Events Coordinator for Bookman’s. David then returned to NYU to complete his studies. While there, he worked as an Events Coordinator for NYU’s Kimmel Center. In 2003, David moved to Minneapolis, MN. David worked for the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in Saint Paul where he was the Community Engagement Coordinator. David returned to Tucson in January 2007 to be close to his family. He dedicated his time to volunteer work with performing arts companies and social service organizations. After serving as a volunteer for ADP for three years, David was invited to join the staff.
Ellie Hausman began her dance training at various dance studios in Santa Fe, NM. She started dancing professionally with Moving People Dance Theatre from 2005 to 2008. In 2005, she toured Europe with Komenka Dance Troupe from New Orleans, LA. Ellie received her BFA in Dance from the University of Arizona in 2009, and during her education received grants and scholarships for artistic and academic achievement. Ellie joined Artifact Dance Project in 2009, and has performed in numerous concerts and projects, including the 2011 and 2012 tours to China and the 2017 production of Surrounding Dillinger. In 2014, she joined the administrative staff of Artifact Dance Project as Business Manager and joined the Artifact Board of Directors in 2017. She currently works as a bookkeeper at a local accounting firm and is passionate about arts administration and non profits. Ellie is honored to be a part of the Artifact Dance Project family.