I AM an artist, a creator, a mover
I am an imperfect instrument, following the rhythms in my body
I am playing my own music and moving through the delicate song of my flesh
I am human
I am welcoming my mistakes, as long as I learn from them
I am a woman
I am alive
I am practicing awareness
I am practicing kindness
I am grateful
Photo by Meghann Padgett
Jasmine Mejia is a New York City native, choreographer, teaching artist, and dancer. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance and Co-Director of H2 Dance Company at Hope College. Jasmine holds an MFA degree in Dance with a concentration in Pedagogy from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, received her BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University, and graduated from Long Island High School for the Arts. As a performer, she has danced at Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Philly Fringe Festival, and the American Dance Festival. Jasmine has toured the states and performed abroad in Bulgaria, London, and Sweden. She was featured in the Urban Bush Women documentary Restaging Shelterand has worked with artists’ including Stefanie Batten Bland, Ronald K. Brown, Elizabeth Corbett, Leah Cox, Daniel Gwirtzman, Dawn Springer, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. She has performed as a company member of VON HOWARD PROJECT, MADArt Creative, LMproject, and Jamal Jackson Dance Company. Jasmine choreographed ABrand New World, a musical featured Off-Broadway on Theatre Row, and her choreography has also been presented at the Highline Ballroom, the American College Dance Festival, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Adelphi University Performing Arts Center, and the Jack Crystal Theater. Her guest artist teaching residencies have taken place at Long Island University and CREC Academy of the Arts. Jasmine’s current research is focused on developing her teaching practice and movement method, Rhythmic Motion.
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Rhythm drives my movement. Allowing my guttural impulses to take control of my flesh feels nurturing and tastes like a smile. I am no longer bound by external music and have room to evolve by moving through the specific rhythms of my body. I am my own instrument and play my own music. I can feel the melody course through my veins and caress my muscles as they bounce rhythmic instincts from one body part to another and move through the delicate song of my pulse.
Choreographing is a therapeutic ritual that both heals and excites my spirit. The notion of forming something out of nothing and shifting bodies in space and time is exhilarating on a guttural level. While my concepts are constantly changing, my conceptual through-line exists in taking honest scenarios and placing them on the stage. I am inspired by human observation, whether it be of relationships, characters, or simple gestures. To avoid generating arbitrary action, I transform my observations into movement, spatial, and rhythmic patterns. I focus primarily on rhythm and timing within my creative process and believe that rhythmic choices are pivotal tools for turning movement into phrases.
Although I occasionally work with heavy social topics, I continue to deliver my messages in a light manner; because we could all use a smile and a laugh every now and then. When creating, I always consider what others can take away from my work. Maintaining the attention and interest of my audience is a constant intention within my process. For me, choreographing is not a self-indulgent art form but a way to connect with other people.
Above all, creating brings me peace.
Photo by Eleanor Getz
My objective as a dance educator is to connect with students through my passion for movement by providing guidance as they develop their artistry. By maintaining an ongoing physical and verbal dialog in my classroom, I create a safe space where my class can feel encouraged to discover their creative individuality and work towards their full potential. In both technique and composition/improvisation classes, I always leave time for feedback so that students may voice their overall experience including any frustrations they faced or new discoveries they may have unearthed. Developing a rapport with students is an essential feature of my philosophy as the environment we create is preserved with mutual respect.
As a teacher I encourage students to find pathways that work for their distinctive bodies and inner rhythms. My current research is dedicated to developing an entire course on creating and moving through Rhythmic Motion. Rhythmic Motion uses rhythm of the body, mind, and environment as the consisting through line. Through this concept I teach students how to create and perform rhythms with the body rather than only dance to the rhythm of the music. Students are taught to dance the rhythm, and therefore create music with a specific instrument - the individual body. Rhythmic Motion allows dancers to quickly learn combinations with more ease and execute varying dynamics and suspensions while improving their technique. The application of rhythmic elements to my teaching provide and develop pedagogic methods for technique, composition, and improvisation classes using deliberate and impulsive bodily rhythms.