Dance TO Showcase Feature #8: The Unstoppable Jasmyn Fyffe

Electric, powerful, compassionate, restless soul. Jasmyn Fyffe is like a little sister to me, even though there is nothing little or immature about her. I offer this interview with the full disclosure that I admire and cheer for Jasmyn and Jasmyn Fyffe Dance. I love seeing her flourish artistically, I am delighted by her positivity and "let's make this happen" attitude.

photo by Christopher Cushman


       LUCY: Why did you want to have a dance company?

JASMYN: When I graduated from York University I was hungry and eager to get into the industry as both a dancer and choreographer however my impatience led me to really push towards creating my own opportunities and work. I wanted to do shows and create choreography and I wanted to do it right away. 

In retrospect I didn't have to start a company to make this a reality but I did. I wanted to create a platform to create work with dancers and collaborators who were interested in my vision and just interested in me and my journey as an artist. I had no idea what I was doing and I still continue to learn on the job. I have also had many mentors over the years who have guided me along in helping me achieve my goals, including you Lucy.


LUCY: Well, you know I've always loved what you do. It's been a pleasure to be of any use. I hope we can finally dance together sometime soon! I remember at first you had a different name for your company, "as the spirit moves". What was the reason for changing the name of your company? 

JASMYN: When I first started my company I had a particular vision for it. With growth both in life and artistically my vision has shifted. Somewhere along the way I felt the name "as the spirit moves" was limiting and carried with it certain connotations. I don’t want to be boxed or labelled. I want my art to speak for itself; not my gender, race, culture or spirituality. I understand that those aspects may come out in work that I create but they also might not and that is okay. 

In essence, the name Jasmyn Fyffe Dance allows me to feel like I can do as I feel, as I am inspired and just let the art be what it is. There are no boundaries and over the years the dancers I work with best suit the vibe of the work and company at that time.  I have a very solid team of collaborators at the moment that suit the work and enjoy it. For this I am very grateful.

LUCY: What is your dream project?

JASMYN: This is such a tricky question and I feel the answer changes as time goes on.  I’m a dreamer and I like to dream BIG! I think my dream project would be characterized by creating and performing in a show that tours internationally, brings the best vibes to people (both artists involved and the audience) and involves some kind of community outreach.  

I love being on stage sharing with audiences and creating and sharing energy with other artists, I love inspiring and being inspired, and I love travelling. It would also be a part of my dream to share the stage with my son Manoah. Just thinking about all of this sounds so perfect. The sky is the limit!

LUCY: Is there one particular location you’d like to take your company to perform? 

JASMYN: Last year I participated in an arts festival in Sinop, Turkey. It was such an amazing and phenomenal experience for me to travel across the globe and create and share my art. This is a real passion of mine and it always greatly inspires me when I get the opportunity to do so. The vibe in Turkey was very open and very free and I loved it.  I have heard from fellow artists that have worked/lived in Europe about their experiences and I would really love to explore this region more, experience the culture and grow and explore artistically with the company.  Recently I've also become interested in seeing what the contemporary dance scene is like in West and South Africa.  I loved the culture shock I felt in Turkey, it was such a powerful shift that took place in my and it was really life changing. I want my whole company to experience the same as we continue to progress and grow.

LUCY: What do you think dance artists can do to improve the health of the Toronto dance community? 

JASMYN: Well, I think one of the main issues is that we have dance events at the same damn time. I think we are a small enough dance community to have less cross over with our shows and events. It would be super fantastic if we could have a calendar with all the dance events happening and then people could slot their times and events in from there. 

Don’t get me wrong, I know its next to impossible to never have any overlap but it is so hard to get to everything when things seem to be overlapping all the time. Also, (and I know this is happening a bit more these days) but I feel the community is very segregated in terms of dance style; it is segregated in other ways as well but I’m focusing on dance style. We need more cross over in the community so that we can grow together in a more well-rounded fashion.  These are just a few thoughts that have been running across my mind.

LUCY: Can you tell me about a performance that was game-changing/life-changing/art-changing? Something you were part of as an audience member — who was it, where, when, why was it impactful?

JASMYN:  This is such hard one for me to answer, and I don't know why. I guess it is because I have seen so many inspiring performances but Im not sure which ones have been life or game changing. And I am also trying not to be 'typical' or 'cliche' as well.  However I remember watching Crystal Pite's Dark Matter and just being so mesmerized by the beauty, structure and brilliance of it all.

I love when I am sitting in the audience seriously trying to figure out how an artist has come up with their creation. It is very fascinating. I had seen clips of it online before watching it live and even they made me want to go into the studio and start creating something or just start moving in general. 

Be inspired by Jasmyn Fyffe Dance 
Tuesday September 29th 4:45pm
Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre
admission is free for Toronto dance artists by RSVP to info@dancetoshowcase.com

more about Jasmyn's company: 
http://jasmynfyffe.weebly.com

Full Dance TO Showcase performance schedules:
http://www.dancetoshowcase.com/#!showcase-performances/czy5

all about Dance TO Showcase
www.dancetoshowcase.com

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Chin: Cultivating a global view, building a dance centre

Adeene Denton: Astrohumanist

New York/Toronto Project: Jeanine Durning in her own precise words