The Art of Rachel Ly

About Me

My name is Rachel Ryan Ly. I was born and raised in Mesa Arizona. When I was a kid I never really had a specific idea of what I wanted to be or do with my life. All I really knew is that I wanted to be a performer. At the age of 4, I started taking tap, jazz and ballet lesson. Dance turned into Gymnastics, and the high beam made me decide I needed to find a new interest.

With some heavy parental persuasion I started taking Violin lessons in third grade. I was in orchestra from elementary school through junior high where I switched to upright Bass. In junior high I had ambitions to be in drama, I joined choir for a while, tried out for some musicals. In the end I think my less than confident nature held me back and I never got into Annie or Bye Bye Birdie. 

A chance viewing of Riverdance on PBS kind of changed everything for me. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The movement was so amazing to me. I had to learn it. I begged to take Irish Step dance lessons and my mom finally agreed. I applied myself harder than ever before and I was at competition level for almost three years. My interest in this also eventually faded. Fun, but competing just wasn't for me.

High school came and I had a decision to make. Orchestra, or dance?

Obviously, I chose dance :)

In high school I worked my way up from Beginning to Advanced dance. My technique wasn't quite "good enough" to make the dance company, but I tried not to let it bother me. My dance teacher honored me with the "most improved dancer" award during my senior year and also gave me a life changing opportunity. She found out about a new program they were running at the Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University. They were developing a new curriculum to teach high school students about the Judson Church era in modern dance. It was an amazing opportunity and I couldn't believe that she chose me. She said she saw potential in me to become a great modern performer.

I went to ASU every Saturday for several months. I got to meet other high school students as well as MFA students and dance professors. I got to learn about a style of dance I had never known. I learned improvisation and choreography techniques. It was fantastic! In the end I got to be part of the historical reconstruction of a Yvonne Rainer piece called Chair Pillow. It was an amazing feeling getting to meet a dance icon and perform that piece in front of a huge audience. I knew where I was going to college.

In the fall of 2003 I started my first semester at Arizona State. I had so many great experiences in my four years there. I met lifelong friends, was taught by wonderful and talented professors, and I got to perform, a lot. In all I performed at least 10 different shows, two of which featured pieces of my own choreography. I graduated with a BFA in Dance Education, Magna Cum Laude.

In the end, I ended up being like so many college graduates before me, I realized what I went to school for wasn't what I really wanted to do. It turned out that education wasn't my calling. I think I chose it as a field because I knew that my technique would never be able to compete. In the end, my feelings are the same as they were as a child. I just want to perform.  

Now that I am graduated, even though I haven't managed to get a sustainable job in my chosen field, I still perform and create as much as I possibly can.                                        

In 2007, shortly after graduating, my husband Christopher Ly got hired with ESPN in Bristol Connecticut and I moved with him.  We lived out there for four years and then he got transferred back to the west coast to work at the LA facility and we now live in Pasadena California.

Since 2009 I have worked as a Lead Sales Associate at Blick Art Materials. Through this job I have had the pleasure of befriending some very talented artists who have allowed me to use galleries and art show openings to perform my work.

As of August 2012 I have been going to Hands on Healing Massage School and my ultimate goal is to be a sports therapy and deep tissue massage therapist.

Another passion of mine is Cosplay. I've been amateur modeling for 8 years now, and dressing up has been a major part of that. After we moved to California we started going to Conventions and last year I made my first Cosplay debut as Quorra from Tron. I was hooked. I am really invested in the costumes I create and I try to make as much as possible and piece things together to create a unique and spot on character. This year I have cosplayed as Zatanna, Kevin from Up and Tank Girl. I am having a blast and am looking forward to my next Cosplay.

I am also involved in a company called Elmwood Productions that makes hilarious movies and short films envolving puppets behaving badly. I have performed with them as an actress and puppeteer several times now and I'm loving the ride.

I love taking pictures, making silly crafts and terrible paintings, so I will also post some of that too. 

So, that's me and my life right now. I invite you to check out my links page to see videos of dances I've done and films I've helped out with. More to come, so stay tuned! 






August 2012 - Present   Hands on Healing Massage School   Tajunga, CA

Swedish and Chair Massage 

 Fall 2003 – Spring 2007       Arizona State University       Tempe, AZ

Bachelor of Arts Degree - Dance Education 

Graduated Magna Cum Laude – 3.7 GPA

Fall 2000 - Spring 2003       Dobson High School         Mesa, AZ

High School Diploma – Scholastic – 4.0 GPA


Work experience

December 2012 - Present: Rachel Ly Massage 

 Pasadena, CA 91106

Owner/Swedish and Chair Massage Practitioner 

- Manipulating client's soft tissues to increase blood and lymph flow and encourage muscle heating a relaxation

-Holistic therapy to facilitate whole body healing

-Client centered focus


July 2011 – Present : Blick Art Materials

44 Raymond Ave       Pasadena, CA 91105

Manager : Joyce Del Castillo

Lead Sales Associate/Key Holder

           (same duties as listed below) 


August 2009 – Present: Blick Art Materials

341 Cooke St.        Plainville, CT  06062

Manager: Sheri Schwartz

Lead Sales Associate/Key Holder

·         Assisting customers by helping them locate items and choose the correct art supplies for their needs

·         Ringing sales at the register

·         Receiving merchandise

·         Stocking shelves

·         Cutting mat board to suit customer’s specifications

·         Assisting customers with special orders via catalog or internet store

·         Performing all opening and closing duties including counting drawers, preparing deposits and completing nightly paperwork

·         Assisting with annual inventory


July 2009- May 2010: The Dance Center

14 Oakwood Ave.      West Hartford, CT 06119

Owner: Karen Poltronieri

Dance Instructor: Ballet /Irish Step Dance

·         Teaching students proper technique in a variety of dance genres.

·         Choreographing dance pieces for recitals


November 2007 -  March 2009:  Homeward Bound 

77 Isham Rd.       West Hartford, CT  06107  

Manager: Shannon Luszczak

  (FYI: this company has since gone out of business)

Sales Associate/ Operations Manager/ Key Holder

  • Responsible for all opening and closing duties including cleaning, counting drawers, printing daily sales reports, making deposits and store recovery
  • Assisting customers with items and special orders
  • Ringing sales at the register
  • Creating memos and signage for sales and other promotions using Microsoft office
  • Responsible for ordering all needed monthly supplies
  • In charge of incoming shipments, checking packing slips, cross checking purchase orders, vouchering, and arranging return to vendors.
  • Faxing and photocopying as needed


[During the time between December 2005 - November 2007, I took a break from employment to focus on my college studies, and after graduation from ASU I moved to Connecticut]


August 2005 - December 2005 : City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation

Supervisor: Frank Ray 

Artistic Director: Meaghan Enders 

Instructor for Creative Dance (ages 5-7)

·         Working with students of varying ages, teaching different forms of creative dance and body explorations

·         Integrating various games and props to aid in learning and understanding dance themes and concepts

·         Helping students choreograph their final piece for the end of semester concert

·         Designing the stage set-up as well as costuming for their performance


June 2005 – July 2005 :  Herberger College For Kids Summer Program

Arizona State University Campus

Supervisor - Catherine Fletcher 

Instructor for K-Motion class  (ages 3-5)

·         Creating detailed lesson plans with weekly themes that integrated creative movement with crafts, movies, literature, music, and visual aids

·         Working with students to create unique creative movement and choreograph dance sequences while learning about specific topics such as Africa, the Southwest, Science of Rainbows, Fairytales, and Frogs

·         Creating weekly newsletters for parents that detailed what we worked on that week and projects the students had completed


[From November 2003 – June 2005, I took time off from employment to focus on school]


July 2002 – November 2003 :  Aaron Brothers Art and Framing

2600 W. Chandler Blvd. Suite 9      Chandler, AZ 85224

Manager: Martina Yoder

Certified Framer and Design Specialist

  • Helping customers create matting and frame designs for their artwork
  • Working in the frame shop building frames, preparing mounts, cutting glass, and trimming mat board 
  • Dealing with computers, order forms, work orders, and sales at the register
  • Responsible for closing duties such as shutting down the registers, counting money, and doing nightly chores
  • Restocking weekly and helped with two annual inventories

Volunteer experience


I have volunteered with the moving inventors program at ASU which is a community dance school that teaches children and teens. I also volunteered at Sun Devil Television at Arizona State helping with production.  I helped make production props, did some part-time editing for student-produced shows and promos, and provided my photoshop skills for on-air fonts.

 Technology Skills

I have an extensive knowledge of computers and software including Microsoft Office, Power Point, Excel, Final Cut Pro, and Photoshop. I learn quickly, especially when it comes to technology, and I am good at overcoming obstacles. I type 60 WPM.