Asha Ama Bias-Daniels crafts costumes for Cincinnati Ballet's 'Mercurial Landscapes'

UC DAAP alumna brings a unique blend of artistry, innovation and cultural heritage to the stage

The Cincinnati Ballet is set to dazzle audiences once again with their upcoming production of "Mercurial Landscapes," a breathtaking journey through dance and design. As the anticipation builds for the performances April 5-7 at the Aronoff Center, one name stands out in the realm of design: Asha Ama Bias-Daniels.

Rep 4—Mercurial Landscapes cover photo for Cincinnati Ballet. Two dancers, male on left, female on right, connect by hand and foot to fill the purple glazed photo.

Cincinnati Ballet presents Rep 4—Mercurial Landscapes, featuring four dynamic contemporary works, including a world premiere by Rena Butler, with costume design by Asha Ama Bias-Daniels, a UC DAAP alumna, fashion designer and artist. Photo/provided

Renowned for her authentic and captivating creations, Asha Ama Bias-Daniels, a 2013 University of Cincinnati alumna, brings her unparalleled talent to the forefront of the Cincinnati Ballet's latest production. With a penchant for blending technical design with contemporary flair, Bias-Daniels' creations promise to elevate the visual storytelling of "Mercurial Landscapes" to new heights of innovation.

In anticipation for the upcoming show, Bias-Daniels has been featured in Cincinnati Ballet news, CityBeat and the Cincinnati Business Courier, receiving high praise for her work and dedication to making the arts more Inclusive and accessible to the Cincinnati community.

Her relentless drive for excellence has propelled her to the top of the fashion world, while her unwavering determination has made strides in making the arts more inclusive and accessible to the community.

Cincinnati Ballet

Rena Butler's world premiere for 'Mercurial Landscape: Bloom'

Asha Ama Bias-Daniels’ couture costume for “Bloom” features a mesh bodysuit embellished with sequins and a pleated, twisted scarf.

Asha Ama Bias-Daniels’ couture costume for 'Bloom.' Photo/Cincinnati Business Courier

Bias-Daniels shared her insights into the creative process behind crafting the costumes for this ballet production.

"The concept of 'Bloom,' one of four sections of this show, is inspired by our experiences as Black women and the pressue we feel to make ourselves smaller," she explained. "Each costume has vibrant floral bursts that push out of sequin fabric. Each burst serves as a visual representation of our greatness always coming out somewhere. Even if we try to suppress it, who we are will always find a way to blossom."

Bias-Daniels elaborates on her perspective, seeing women through "God eyes," perceiving beauty and greatness in all, even when others do not see it in themselves. This ethos permeates her designs, aiming for viewers to recognize their truest selves in her creations, she says.


I am most fulfilled when people see their greatest self in my work.

Asha Ama Bias-Daniels

About Asha Ama Bias-Daniels

Asha Ama, in a silver dress on the roof of urban Cincinnati, photographed by Marek Urbanski.

Photo/Marek Urbanski

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Bias-Daniels is inspired by the female form and her work celebrates duality with soft, rhythmic draping against pieces with an armored feel. She incorporates ornate detailing, print mixing, strong lines and cut outs that accentuate the curves of the "immaculate female form."

She has created pieces for a diverse range of artists from Zendaya to Little Big Town. Bias-Daniels has worked the full range of the fashion industry from corporate to couture design, designing the showpiece of Marchesa’s couture bridal collection and custom pieces for Lizzo’s Special tour. Bias-Daniels competed as a finalist on Tim Gunn's Project Runway: Under the Gunn. She was also invited back to compete on the hit show Project Runway All StarsHer work has adorned the halls of the Contemporary Arts Center, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Taft Museum of Art.

As a Black woman, Bias-Daniels often found herself misunderstood, stereotyped and misidentified. She says sge was able to navigate the fashion world and survive because she was raised with a great knowledge of self that she tries to impart to others through her designs. Bias-Daniels has always had a heart for mentoring and education. It is her core belief that it is her duty to pull others up while finding her way.

Bias-Daniels is thankful for the technical design skills she learned during her time as a student in the fashion design program in UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). She credits her technical sewing skills as a contribution to her first big break as a designer. She also wants to remind current and future artists in DAAP and beyond to take those technical skills and also live for their authentic-selves.

"You only have one life to live. You have to be selfish about your dream," she said. "Try new and different things now. Take chances. Bet on you. Find meaning in your work".  

You only have one life to live. You have to be selfish about your dream.

Asha Ama Bias-Daniels

Bias-Daniels' designs for 'Bloom' are dedicated to to her father, Charles Daniels, for always seeing her greatness and pushing her to be her biggest self. Her work is inspired by the great women that remind her who she is whenever forgotten: Ayan Daniels, Tasha Johnson, Jehan Altman, Rita DeRaedt, Kelly Sheehy and Kristen Wright.

For those eager to witness Bias-Daniels' stunning creations come to life, tickets for "Mercurial Landscapes" are available now.

Featured image at top of Asha Ama Bias-Daniels. Photo/Marek Urbanski

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