Ansley Jones aka Jukeboxx is a full-time multidisciplinary artist, dance scholar, official U.S. Cultural Ambassador, hip hop feminist, and women’s rights activist. Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia she began her journey as a dancer at the age of eight. A self-taught hip hop dancer, her mother’s work schedule became her dance class and her bedroom the studio space. She danced almost every night until age seventeen, eager and determined to begin a professional dance career. After high school, Jones pursued a BFA in Visual and Performing Arts at Savannah State University in 2004. She quickly became a member of Ampliphiers Hip Hop Dance Team and Savannah State University Dance Ensemble. She organized and managed several events for the city of Savannah including a Hip Hop History Month Block Party (a day of performances and workshops in celebration of Hip Hop History Month) and a day of dance for an Atlanta YMCA mentor program (a day of workshops and discussions in capoeira, hip hop and African dance) to name a few. Her organizational and planning skills developed further through internships at “B-Girl Be” Summit for the Celebration of Women in Hip Hop in Minneapolis and coordinating a week long dance festival followed by a concert.
On shaping her career, she considers her performance on “Showtime at the Apollo Theater” in 2006 as one of her most challenging experiences. This eye-opening view into the commercial realm of dance changed her focus to a more academic approach. She decided to further her dance career in graduate school.
Jones was accepted the next semester in the MA American Dance Studies program in the FSU School of Dance at Florida State University. While pursuing her masters, she was awarded a Dickinson Settle Scholarship to study in the FSU in NYC dance program in 2009. Jones studied and conducted field research where she interviewed over 80 bgirls from Japan, Korea, Sweden, Columbia, Germany, New York, Hawaii, The United Kingdom, Hungary and Brazil. She interned at New York University with Jorge “Pop Master Fabel” Pabon’s (Vice-president of the legendary Rock Steady Crew, Hip Hop Dance Historian and Writer) and with Bgirl and Hip Hop Party Dance Pioneers Wanda“WandeePop” Candalario and Deena “Snap Shot” Clemente. In addition to studying with pioneers of hip hop dance, she was also able to study yoga, contemporary, Afro-Brazilian,West African at Alvin Ailey and capoeira with Grupo Luanda NYC and Mestre Joao Grande.
Jones continues to enrich her knowledge in the field of dance. An active researcher, she attends conferences and festivals such as the Black College Dance Festival, the American College Dance Festival, Florida African Dance Festival, the Florida Dance Festival, the National Hip Hop Political Conference (where she won passes to the conference, transportation and housing for a hip hop essay contest), the New York Capoeira Festival and the 1st Ginga Brasil-CDO Women’s Encounter & Semi-Annual Batizado. She also presents her choreography and research at conferences such as the Congress on Research and Dance (CORD) Conference: Dance in American Culture and Allen University’s Hip Hop Studies Conference.
Jones traveled to India (May 2014) with the Next Level Program; an initiative of the University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill and the U.S. Department of State to teach peace and conflict resolution through hip hop culture.
Recently Jones was invited a second time to India as a US cultural ambassador in residence with Cultural Vistas and the U.S. State Department. Touring four cities in India with six other American urban artists connecting and working against social oppression through art. The final showcase was presented on May 25th at Cultural Vistas in Washington D.C.
This year Jones has been awarded the Senior/Creative Performing Arts fellowship by The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) to carry out her project “The Jukeboxx Movement – From Surviving to Thriving” to the city and hip hop community of Kolkata, West Bengal, India. This project is an eleven-week program designed to rally the hip hop community to become rape crisis victim advocates among other trainings in order to create sustainable safe spaces for survivors of gender-based violence and oppression through the medium of hip hop culture and artistic expression. This program will go on a five-city tour beginning with Kolkata to Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi and Patna. There will be a subsequent five city tour in the US, a musical compilation and a feature length documentary film. Her kickstarter to help with funding will be available mid-September 2017. Link coming soon.
Jones travels, performs and lectures on sexism, misogyny and violence in Hip Hop culture and teaches workshops focusing on healing sexual assault/domestic violence through dance. She is an active leader in the community, volunteering for organizations such as P.A.C.E. School for girls, The Oasis Center for Women and Girls, Empowering Women Globally (Florida State University) and The Curators of Hip Hop.