Guts and Passion: An Interview with Choreographer, dancer and artistic director Jasmyn Fyffe of As the Spirit Moves Dance Company

… on her upcoming premiere of Warfare

June 25-26

at Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation

Regular Ticket: $20

Student/Senior/CADA: $15

Children under 12: $10

www.danceworks.ca or (416) 204-1082

Interview by Lucy Rupert

Warfare is your first self-produced, full-length show. What made you want to take that step?

Guts, passion and vision. I felt like it was the right time to share my personal challenge of creating a full-length work by producing my first show.

How are the sections of your full-length program linked?

They are mostly linked by the theme of war. There is no storyline, as such, but there are characters in situations who tell their personal stories.

What inspired you to take on war as a theme?

I first began exploring this theme in 2008 when I started the company. At the time, I was more focused on spiritual warfare – the war that is going on around us in another realm. I wanted to continue this exploration. When I heard about the genocidal war happening in Darfur, I felt compelled to speak about the issue and help raise awareness.

What is the mission of your company, As the Spirit Moves?

Our mission is to create and perform dance work that is attentive to artistic integrity and the diversity of the human experience. This work awakens the hearts and minds of our audiences, dancers and collaborators. Another important part of our mission is to support and create relief efforts and funds that highlight global social issues. Ultimately, our goal is to create movement that impacts the human spirit.

What moves your spirit?

The lives of human beings and what we encounter on an everyday basis. How our lives are different, based on culture, country, social status, health. The joy and blessing of being alive; of being a mother to a wonderful son and a wife to a wonderful husband.

For those who haven’t seen your work or met you before, could you tell me a little about your training, or profound experiences as a dancer/choreographer?

I trained at York University and graduated with an Honours double major in Dance and Kinesiology. I also studied at the Toronto Dance Theatre summer school and the Ballet Creole summer school. I graduated from York in 2007, and then founded ASM Dance. I also started creating dance for Kashedance, under the artistic direction of Kevin Ormsby. I have danced independently for Calu Entertainments, Linda Garneau and InDuo Danceworks, to name a few. I have created nine pieces for my company, and have worked independently as a choreographer for Dramatic Change Youth Theatre, Obsidian Theater and Cathedral Productions.

How have you approached dancing and choreographing your show?

I have wonderful mentors: Lucy Rupert, (interviewer inserts an “Aw, shucks.”) William Yong and Vivine Scarlett have been helping me along the way. It is definitely a challenge to create work in which I perform. I have taken myself out of a few sections so that I can see the work better. I have also had to work out sections before I put my own body into them; a challenge, but a beautiful process of growth, born of necessity.

What do you dream for As the Spirit Moves?

We want to raise awareness in the hope that change will come. If we can inspire one person to change the way he/she feels or thinks about the issues that we’re tackling in our performance, then our mission is accomplished. If we can bring joy to someone in a tough situation, through our art, then we have done what we have set out to do.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself training the younger generations of dancers in this city. I will be touring schools, performing and creating internationally, and will have a sense of financial freedom. I also see myself with one or two more children who are full of energy. Happy and still dancing as the spirit moves.

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