The Hobart

Local Lad Blair Ashwood

by Zilla Gordon
Local Lad Blair Ashwood

Blair Ashwood is a professional dancer and dance teacher from Bellerive.

Where in Hobart do you live? I’m currently living on Alexandra Esplanade in Bellerive. It’s a great location and right on the beach.

What’s the best thing about Hobart? The best things about Hobart are the people and the lifestyle. Being able to plan a trip up the east coast that only takes two hours to drive to you feel like you’re on a holiday in a different country.

And the worst thing? I wouldn’t really say there’s a bad thing about Hobart but sometimes because Hobart is small, it’s more likely that people know your business. But that’s not always a bad thing.

Tell us a little about your work? I’m a professional dancer and dance teacher but also working as a fitness instructor. I’m currently working and teaching at Jenina’s Dance Workshop and as an F45 training, located across Tasmania. My dancing has taken me across the world touring throughout Japan, China and the US. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some big industry leading choreographers and famous celebrities.

How did you get into dancing? I started dancing at the age of nine at a small school in New Norfolk. After discovering that dancing was a massive passion of mine, I started to take things more seriously. From the age of 13 to 18, I was dancing around 18-24 hours a week. This was also on top of schooling and living 30 minutes away from where I was dancing. I moved to Sydney when I was 18 to complete my full-time year and straight after graduation I left Australia on my first professional contract in America.

What’s been one of your dance highlights? My biggest dancing highlight was working on The Late Show with David Letterman and Ben Stiller. This was something that completely changed my life and opened up many amazing opportunities. I was working as a dancer on the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus, touring across the country by train. Performing in sold-out arena shows and meeting celebrities such as Neil Patrick Harris, Alicia Keys and the cast of Grey’s Anatomy. Something that I will be forever thankful for.

Did you ever face any criticism as a male dancer? Do you feel that stereotypes are changing? When I was growing up I knew I was different. My brother was a very outdoors and active kid – always played football and cricket but that never interested me. I would always dress up and put on small production shows for my family friends. I’ve always loved music and the thought of being on stage. I was bullied throughout my schooling years for being gay and dancing. It was a difficult time in my life but at the same time I was extremely lucky to have a supportive family and dancing. Nearly 10 years on and I believe we have made incredible progress.

And you teach as well, what’s that like to be able to build younger dancers? Teaching children how to dance is one of the most rewarding things in my life. Being able to watch someone grow and achieve, not only as a dancer, but also a human is the most beautiful thing.

You also work as a personal trainer – do you think that helps your dancing? I started working in the fitness industry two years ago. This was something I never had planned. After my last dancing contract in Japan, I found a new love for the gym. When I was younger I would always be so scared to ever try something like the gym. I always found it was only meant for people who had big arms and a six-pack. When I started working for F45 this all changed. Painting a picture of someone and what they are meant to look like, and what they should be doing is so silly. Everyone is different and no one looks the same – stereotypes are stupid.

What’s your favourite Hobart eatery? My favourite place to eat is Criterion Cafe, on Criterion Street. It always has a great vibe and the food and coffee is amazing. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already!

Drink of choice and where do you head for it? My drink of choice would be a nice glass of red wine or a vodka, soda and lime. It all just depends on the mood and setting. The Den never disappoints!

Guilty pleasure? Salt and vinegar chips ha ha ha.

What do you never leave home without? My chapstick. Can’t have dried lips.

Quote to live by? You are born with nothing and you will die with nothing.

Love this

Cold Water Wake Up Call
It seems everywhere I turn someone is talking about or participating in cold water swimming right now.
A Short Geelong Getaway
Since the Spirit of Tasmania terminal moved from Melbourne to Geelong late last year, a visit to Geelong has been on the radar.
27 Hobart Friends Get Snipping For One Off Wine
The borders were declared shut in Tasmania on the 30th of March, 2020; the first stare to do so amid the COVID- 19 pandemic and hard lockdown of Hobart followed.
Danphe Nepalese and Indian Food + Peppermint Bay Bar and Bistro
Nepalese food is a comfort in our house. Having spent much time trekking and mountain climbing in Nepal as a younger man, Nepalese food is something I always love to go back to.
That’s DR Hannah Gadsby To You
From Smithton to Netflix and the Emmys stage, Tasmanian stand up comic Hannah Gadsby has forged an unlikely path. Following on from the massive success of her shows Nanette and Douglas, Hannah brings her new show Body of Work to Hobart this month.
PODCAST: Incat founder Robert Clifford on why electric boats are the future
Robert Clifford is the founder of Incat, a Hobart company building fast ferries for the world. Always looking to future opportunities, he has identified where Hobart sits in the next wave of transportation. For more of this interview listen to The Hobart Magazine podcast.
Is Tourism Ready For More Forestry Wars?
Tasmanian forests are special. They’re home to centuries-old trees, including the tallest flowering trees on the planet, and support unique native species. Yet not everyone agrees on how these forests should be managed.
Hobart Chefs: When The Obsession Becomes Real
Tasmania’s brand as a foodie haven is cemented. But within the local hospitality industry there are those who love to use local produce...and those who are next-level obsessed with it. We spoke to a bunch of Hobart chefs who are top of the game when it comes to fostering relationships with local farmers and growers.
Did You Know Australia’s First Female Doctor Was Hobartian?
Tasmania, despite its small size and population in comparison to the mainland, has produced more than its proportionally predicted percentage of significant figures and heroes of Australian history. 
Return Travellers Adding Pressure to Hobart Housing
For all of us 2020 was a year like no other, punctuated by rapid change and plenty of new challenges. For vulnerable people in Tasmania, including people facing homelessness, those on low incomes and those facing increasingly higher rents, it was very challenging. We are seeing a growing demand for homes in Tassie from international travellers returning home, people moving for work and others seeking the lifestyle that our Apple Isle has to offer.
AboutContributeAdvertiseNewsletter Sign UpContact
May 2024

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
The warm weather returns...hello summer.
Need a laugh? Check out @theinspiredunemployed feed on Instagram.
Moto Vecchia Cafe in Bellerive and Czegs Cafe in Richmond have joined the Clarence City Council dementia program, creating dementia-friendly spaces for all patrons.
It’s hard to believe it’s not standard practice to have a working phone in every aged care room - shared phones make private conversations impossible and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Tacks on the tracks. Mountain bikers beware of tacks being left on certain tracks on the mountain.
Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!