efficient bodies; effective minds; essential systems

Our team


Our Team



Ashley Thorndike-Youssef, PhD

Ashley is the owner and driving force behind thorndikeCREATIVE. She holds a PhD in dance studies from Ohio State University, an MEd in counseling from the University of Virginia, and a BFA in modern dance from the University of Utah. With over 17 years experience in the fields of leadership development, dance, non-profit administration, workplace wellness, and Pilates, she brings to each client a directed, efficient approach to embodiment, creativity, and programming. She is particularly engaged in the intersections of creativity and business: helping executives think creatively and guiding artists to think strategically. 

For eight years she served as the founder and Executive Director of Now Next Dance, a dance education and mentoring organization. She was featured in Dance Magazine, and was described in the Dance/USA journal as a “trailblazing visionary” for her innovative program design. Her prior work includes managing the Young Women Leaders Program, a large youth mentoring program, and teaching on the dance faculties of American University, George Mason University, George Washington University, and Oberlin College. Her certifications include BASI Pilates with a dance conditioning certificate and Ashtanga/Hatha yoga (200hr level).

Ashley is also currently writing a dance teaching methods textbook titled Dance in Community, a project supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County government and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

The mother of preschooler and a kindergartener, Ashley spends her free time folding laundry and unloading the dishwasher. 

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Claire Alrich

Claire is a dance & textile artist, a mixed-ability arts educator, and an non-profit manager. At thorndikeCREATIVE, Claire teaches workplace wellness workshops and creates visual tracking systems to help our clients with personal and team goal setting.  Claire is committed to helping clients develop a 3-dimensional sense of presence, and building workplace environment that foster creativity and well-being. 

Along with her work with thorndikeCREATIVE, Claire is the Program and Outreach Manager for the National Fund for the US Botanical Garden where she has created programming that fuses movement and plant education and manages a summer intern serving DC youth. Additionally, Claire is a teaching artist in the DMV area, notably with Artstream an inclusive theater company collaboratively creating theater and dance with differently-abled individuals. She is also the site-manager of The Field/DC, an international network committed to creating opportunities for artist to dialogue and convene around art-making. Originally from the Midwest, Claire holds a BA in dance and English rhetoric from Beloit College. While at Beloit she spent time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studying choreography, language, and cross-cultural-communication. 

A DC artist and designer, her current creative work is a new project questioning the who, how, and what of monument-building. As a costume and textile designer, Claire's work has been seen on stages and gallery space in DC. She is a company member of darlingdance and freelances, frequently performing in the DC contemporary arts scene. 




Alison Waldman

Alison is a teacher, performer, creative consultant, and citizen artist. To thorndikeCREATIVE, Alison brings 7 years of work in nonprofit administration, professional performance, and community engagement. A lead teacher in our workplace wellness programming and a consultant on communications strategy, Alison brings to our clients a passion for empowering people to rediscover their creativity, strength, and purpose through intentional physicality and clear communication.

In addition to her work for thorndikeCREATIVE, Alison is a Resident Movement Artist at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital where she provides stretch breaks and performances for hospital staff, patients, and visitors. Alison also works as a freelance marketing and communications specialist, graphic designer, and photographer for non-profit and local arts endeavors. An active performing artist, Alison appears regularly with the D.C-based Contradiction Dance Theatre company. She holds a BA in Communication and a minor in dance from Denison University.

In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking, musical theatre, taking walks with her dog Sesame, and being an audience member.  www.alisonwaldman.com.