e had the honor to interview the young, beautiful, and oh so talented Jasmine Perry from the Los Angeles Ballet (LAB). She is currently in her 5th season with LAB and took time off her busy schedule to answer some of our questions. Enjoy!
1. At what point did you decide to be More than just a dancer?
I moved to NYC to train at the School of American Ballet at 14 years old. When I was sixteen, I found out that an ankle injury I had been dealing with for the past few years needed serious attention, and surgery. The surgery put me out of training for at least four months. Rehab started in the middle of that time, and lasted for much longer. Though out of ballet for my ankle, I still attended SAB, observing all of the classes. This time away from the barre, and now solely observing my peers really changed my outlook on dance from just doing steps, to becoming an artist. I saw things in my peers that I had never seen before. Importance in articulation, style, execution, personality, depth, doing things with purpose and drive, not just because a combination was given in the class you are currently in. These were all things I had never truly considered in my training at the time, or at least didn't understand the importance of. I learned that qualities like these separate one dancer from the next, a student from a professional dancer, an artist. This time away from ballet to rehab my ankle, was when I decided I was more than just a dancer, but an artist.
2. What personal limitations if any did you go through in your career?
Injuries have definitely limited me to a degree in my career. It is frustrating to understand that your sole tool for this art form is not in the best shape. Injuries leave me often feeling like I am one step forward, but two steps back in my work. I've also dealt with personal insecurities and lack of confidence in myself, because of struggling with injuries. Rehabilitating an injury is just as much of a mental recovery as it is physical.
3. Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
The limitation in my career mostly stems from casting at the ballet. In the past, being casted below others, or not casted/included at all for roles that I have felt capable of performing has definitely felt like hitting wall. For anyone dealing with this, my advice is to continue working hard. Show those around you that you are more than able, and if anything, bigger than the parts they have allotted you. Know within yourself that parts don't define you. Working like this pays off!
4. How do you conquer negative talk?
Conquering negative talk is a tough task, and varies per person. Being that ballet is such a self critical profession, it is very easy to get bogged down by negative words, or energy around you. It's easy to look in a mirror and become destructive, allowing negative thoughts to override your drive, and growth. Personally, I've worked on reassurance within myself, and knowing that I am strong, worthy, and capable of facing any challenge placed in front of me. Having a support system, and safe space that reminds me of my worth has also helped me over the years.
5. What would you tell someone that only sees themselves as ONLY a dancer?
To anyone who sees themselves as only a dancer, I'd ask what that means to you? I've learned over the years that dancers inhabit skills across the charts, excelling in multiple environments, that any average Joe Shmoe couldn't relate to. Our rigorous training, the ins and outs of dance as a sub culture, have given us a name that holds much importance and revere, because of all that dance requires us to be. I'd ask anyone who solely defines themselves as a dancer to explore how far they can take that term. Where else could you belong? Where else are you needed? And from a dancer's stand point, where/what else could you excel in? With that I think they'd learn more about who they are, and who dance has allowed them to become.
Los Angeles Ballet is presenting Serenade and La Slyphide in March! They are just starting rehearsals, and she is dancing a ton. The two ballets are extremely challenging, but fulfilling to say the least, Jasmine said. The music for Serenade makes her emotional every time she hears it. If anyone is in the LA area, she would absolutely love for you to come!
Follow Jasmine | @jaypearr
- Steps on Broadway. Photo by Kyle Froman
- fciwomenswrestling.com article, losangelesballet.org