Dancers Ashi K. Smythe and Lindiwe Dlamini, now a married Bushkill couple, met touring with Disney's "Lion King."
...Ashi K. Smythe grew up in the heartland of America, denying that he was a dancer in spite of the fact that his mother as well as several relatives were involved in the art of movement.
The native Chicagoan focused on baseball, track and gymnastics, yet he
eventually proved out his
dance legacy by way of a prestigious scholarship and tour with M.C. Hammer.
The now husband-wife performing arts duo met as members of the original cast of Disney's
"The Lion King."They moved to the Poconos two years ago to raise their children where grass grew and deer roamed.
Dlamini has stayed with the grueling commuter and staging schedule of a Broadway hit show, but Smythe
opted to leave for other projects, particularly teaching.
was still with the show, he
arrived nearly two hours early to warm up for all the tumbling he
was expected to execute.Plus, he
had about 16 costume changes, morphing into a trickster, giraffe, dancing hyena, and of course, grass."The show is really back stage," he
The couple were part of the show since the beginning, having been in the premiere in Minneapolis the summer before the musical was staged in New York.
"Our choreography wasn't finished until we opened on Broadway," Smythe
"When you've been a performer, you don't feel, 'Wow, I'm on Broadway.' It's another job, performance," Smythe
said."It's fun until it becomes a job, and that's when they switch shows."
But even so, both agreed that the audience's reaction feeds their drive to entertain.
"I started dancing when I was 5," Smythe
attended dance rehearsals with his
mother and soon mimicked what he
saw on the dance floor.
"I picked up on it easily," said Smythe
, whose muscular dancer's body is evident under a stylish white T-shirt-and-jeans combination."On stage, I'm one person, and off I'm totally different.It's kind of an energy.It has to come from your heart.If you don't feel it, you don't have it."
But as a teen, Smythe
, who is also the son of a construction worker, denied being a hoofer.He
enrolled in college to study economics, yet he
earned a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in New York City.His
mother finally convinced him that he
was in New York because he
was a dancer, not a college student.He
was soon under contract for a tour with M.C. Hammer, so he
left school and the scholarship behind and has been working ever since.
"I like the choreography.If I like the choreography, I can do it forever.It can be grueling, but once it's finished and you see it come together, it's really nice," said Smythe
, who can will his
feet to perform ballet, tap, modern, jazz and hip hop.
"I grew up doing everything," he
Another partner not in the business wouldn't like that, but she
It's hard if you don't take care of yourself, be with the right person and have family support," Smythe
teaches jazz, tap and hip hop for those aged pre-teen to adult at the School of Visual and Performing Arts in Stroudsburg.
"I like seeing where they started and where they will end up," he