Ay-Jaye Nelson is Cherokee Native American and of direct African descent. He is a Durham native, performer, choreographer, and instructor. With Hillside High School being his first dance home, he has since branched out, broadening his movement vocabulary and technique with a particular focus on modern movement, release technique, hip-hop, and jazz influenced styles. Ay-Jaye has performed in works by Chris Grant, renowned choreographer for Beyoncé, and Christian Von Howard of The Von Howard Project New York. He has also performed around the Triangle with various independent dance organizations, such as The Triangle Dance Project, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, and DIDA. Ay-Jaye has been a member of ShaLeigh Dance Works for three years. He was first drawn to the dance company via ShaLeigh, who he was training under for a short period of time, and he absolutely fell in love with her teaching techniques and movement styles. He continues to uplift and inspire his community through movement and socially charged work. Ay-Jaye has been a member of ShaLeigh Dance Works since 2017.
“I love being a part of SDW simply because our process is one that is truly rooted, not just in movement, but in the process of trying to really understand and connect on a deeper spectrum.”