This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Jasmyn Fyffe. Jasmyn is making her mark on the Toronto dance scene as a dancer and choreographer. A choreographer described as “Alvin Ailey meets street dancer,” (Allan Ferguson – Director: Nelly Furtado Music Video), her work is created within a movement style that is an eclectic blend of her versatile training background while maintaining a strong contemporary foundation. As a choreographer, her credits include: “Pulse” commissioned by Dance Ontario (2012), “Into the Roots. . .Beyond the Leaves” Sponsored by TD Bank in collaboration with Vivine Scarlett (2011), “Warfare” a DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event (2010), Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival (2009), Irie Music Dance Festival (2009 & 2011), Project Dance Toronto (2009), Bazaar (2010-2012), Dance Ontario DanceWeekend (2011), Choreographer’s Ball (2011) and Fresh Blood 2009 and 2010 (The Chimera Project); her solo “Indentity” presented in the 2010 showcase, got her an honorable mention by Artistic Director Malgorzata Nowacka.
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Jasmyn: My mom says when I started walking as a baby I would walk on my toes and dance around. I started ballet and west African/Caribbean at the age of 6. And I remember those classes very very well 🙂
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Jasmyn: The first song I ever choreographed to (at least that I can remember) was “dream lover” by Mariah Carey. A few of my close friends and I were performing in a talent show and we created a routine. It was a group effort but I distinctly remember taking a leadership role in the making of this dance.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Jasmyn: Just go with the flow. Freestyling and improvisation is a way to discover new movement and to enjoy the pure joy and freedom of movement. You definitely need to listen to the music and to your body and do less and less thinking about it. Dance like your are in your kitchen just vibing. That is how I like to freestyle and it’s a great feeling.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Jasmyn: I LOVE choreography. So I kind of feel like I am also in that zone or mood. But when I am making a piece, I generally dream, think, breath, eat and just live the concept and idea everyday until the piece is finished. So, I saturate myself with everything about the piece to get it into my bones fully. I try to have a really clear idea and concept and plan for what I want to accomplish in the studio each day. And I usually pray, to get my mind and body at ease and just let the mojo flow.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Jasmyn: I have been influenced by many choreographers and dancers over the years. The dancers and artists that I collaborate with greatly influence me, daily. Specific artists, I would have to say: Crystal Pite, Camille Brown, Sidra Bell, Kyle Abraham, Karen and Allen Kaeja and Mia Michaels to name a few.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Jasmyn: I have enjoyed working with many choreographers in my career thus far, but if I have to choose one I would say Karen Kaeja. I am currently working with Karen on a solo she choreographed on me for my upcoming show and I like how she has pushed me beyond boundaries my own personal artistic boundaries but still allow my movement qualities to stand out and be uniquely me. She is patient and really detailed which has also really pushed me as a dancer and is a lesson for me as a choreographer.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Jasmyn: I have been collaborating with a composer/sound designer Robert Kingbury for the past year and a half. I LOVE working with him because not only is he brilliant at what he does, he always understands what I need and is so easy going and easy to work with. He is really a gift to me.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Jasmyn: My most current project is my upcoming concert “Interlock.” This will be my second company concert, co-presented by Dance Works CoWorks. It features a mixed program of 6 dance pieces, including 3 world premieres. The choreographers include: Jasmyn Fyffe, Karen Kaeja, Patrizia Gianforcaro and Kyra Jean Green. It will be taking place at the Winchester Street Theatre, from March 14-17, 2012. We are really excited about it!
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Jasmyn: I think Toronto dancers are versatile, fearless and very strong. I am so happy and proud to be a part of this dance community and I know we as a community will continue to push forward and make the community an even stronger, tight knit community of support and drive for excellence in what we do.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Jasmyn: Just dream it, go after it and live it. Allow your dreams to become a reality by working hard and taking everything step by step. Being a dance artist is not an easy career but no career is easy. If dance is what you love, go after it and work for it. If dance is for you, it will work out.
THANK YOU JASMYN FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE AND PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO