Jasmine, who identifies as they, is an interdisciplinary artist, director, choreographer, organizer, teaching artist, and a 2021 Bessie-nominated and 2017 Bessie award winning dancer and performer. For ten years, they have developed and shared a variety of solo and ensemble dance theater performances.
Jasmine has creatively collaborated with multidisciplinary artists, including Solange Knowles, Alisha B. Wormsley, Vanessa German, and Ayanah Moo. Her collaborations have culminated in performances at events and in places such as the Guggenheim Museum, The Getty Center, Venice Biennale 2019, and the Ford Foundation.
They have also had the pleasure of performing premiere and repertory pieces with companies such as Urban Bush Women, David Dorfman Dance, and the August Wilson Dance Ensemble. Jasmine’s practice is rooted in dance, somatic, and vocal traditions influenced by many teachers and mentors, including Claudette Nickens Johnson, Byronné J Hearn, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Marlies Yearby, and Kathryn Leary.
Their commitment to dance is as inclusive as it is an expansive practice merging performance, sound conjuring, memory-keeping, and story-telling.
“Your silence will not protect you.”
What form of exercise do you teach?
I don’t teach exercise. I think of myself as a guide or facilitator for all bodies to move, stretch, feel, remember, and imagine.
What does your exercise do for you - outside and inside?
As a professional performer and teaching artist, my practice - the way that I move my body and the way that I care for my body is an everyday attention and focus that is centered in my intuition and my pleasure. When I speak of pleasure I am naming not only my joy but my grief and the spectrum that lies in between those two landmark emotions.
What is your favorite inspirational or motivational quote?
“Your silence will not protect you.” - Audre Lorde
What does nature mean to you? How does it inspire you?
Nature is, nature is, nature is everything. Nature is the elemental makeup of all that we rely on to survive. Nature is water and earth and air and fire - nature is also how we treat these elements. How I treat nature is also building my own nature - it’s how I am listening to and building with nature.
How can our natural world help bring people closer to their true natures?
It is each of our jobs to figure out our relationship with nature. I focus on my iterative actions by considering things such as how much I drive, taking care to order food that doesn’t use styrofoam as packaging, and using resourced and reused materials.
How can exercise make us stronger human beings, better able to connect with others and embrace everyone's right to thrive?
When I think of exercise I think of something that is done with focus and the commitment to being done more than once. Instead of exercise, I think about practice - practice as prayer and prayer as ritual - this way of returning back and doing something more than once. I have a framework focused in care and attention of my body. In this I check in to see how my body is doing that day as a human being. I exercise to connect myself with how I am doing that day, to understand how I can interact and connect to others. My practice roots me in myself so that I can come to a place of center and to share, listen, and respect others.
Why is it important for us to connect with other human beings?
I can only speak for myself. I connect with all beings so that I am not an asshole, a hateful person - so I can learn about how each one of us is different and how each one of us cares differently. But mainly it’s not to be an asshole. This gives me an opportunity to learn how to listen regardless of if I agree.
What does the phrase "One World, One Love" mean to you?
It can be tricky. It puts us all together in one basket as if we can all come together and be treated the same. Due to the history of my life and how my life and identity interacts with the country that I am from, and also then zooming out to the world I get to be a part of, it means to me that “One World, One Love” needs to, first, be rooted in myself. How do I make a world for myself to be rooted into. A world that values practice, care, and listening, so that I am able to extend out to then be a part of other peoples worlds and be invited to other people's love and to grow exponentially from the root of myself. “One World, One Love” means to find that within myself to connect to a wider expression of that phrase.
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