Modern Muse, our series celebrating accomplished, stylish, real women. In other words, women just like you.
From performing in her pajamas to joining a world-renowned ballet company, Jasmine Perry has literally grown up at the barre. The LA Ballet Company Dancer talks athleisure, self-expression and the importance of embracing female strength. Meet Jasmine, our Modern Muse.
[Bailey44:] How were you introduced to the dance world?
[Jasmine:] I was eight years old when I started and actually began with a creative movement class (rather than a fundamental ballet class), where I was allowed to improvise and run around the room. We got to pick out our own pajamas to wear as a costume for our final performance. My dad said I needed an outlet for all of my extra energy.
What’s kept you dancing all these years?
The beauty of it all. There’s something about the movement of a body in space that has always intrigued me. With or without music, one is capable of captivating others with solely their living and breathing self. I’m also not the best speaker, or the best at sharing my emotions so dance allows me to express myself without words, but movement.
Describe a typical day in the life of an LA Ballet Company Dancer.
Each morning at 9:30am we begin with a technique class. This class takes us back to the basics and preps us for the rehearsal or performance day ahead. Generally we have rehearsal from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. After my work day is over, I squeeze in a bit of cross training. If we’re gearing up for performances, we’ll have another warm-up class in the afternoon, followed by a theater rehearsal from 6pm to 10pm. Rest and relaxation is a must after performance days.
What has dancing taught you about womanhood? How do the two connect?
Dance has taught me the importance of strength in womanhood. Growing up a girl in this society you learn that you are expected to be sweet, fragile and strong–but never too strong. The female dancer is quintessentially seen as sweet and fragile too. Women in dance embody all of these qualities, but most importantly strength. Many don’t realize that it takes great amounts of strength to embody every role a woman is given, in and out of dance. And to do so with grace is what make women so beautiful!
What do you hope an audience walks away with after one of your performances?
I hope they leave moved and inspired, even if it’s the tiniest bit! Many people come to ballet inexperienced with the art, not knowing what to expect from the production. Having knowledge of dance or not, it’s an amazing feeling to know that the audience is leaving the theater with more than what they came in with.
All-time favorite ballet?
That’s a tough one! I’m torn between classic story ballets and works by Balanchine. I love Romeo and Juliet. I’m a sucker for romantics, and a great cast of Romeo and Juliet will have you in tears by the end. I also love Balanchine’s Square Dance–the choreography’s quickness, technical difficulty and musicality is unbelievable!
Most memorable performances?
Recently I got to step into a principal role for George Balanchine’s Who Cares?. It was a last minute cast change due to an injury, and I never expected to be the one to step in. The kick was, I had to juggle the principal role and my original one in the same show. There was an array of quick changes and my legs that felt like jello, but I had so much fun.
How has your style evolved throughout your dance career?
I’ve learned to love comfort over the years. Since I’m moving around all day (and on the run otherwise) I really appreciate comfy yet stylish looks. I’m huge on athleisure right now and love going for overall simplicity. Having the luxury of dressing up in fun costumes at work has allowed me to embrace a more laidback off-stage style.
What are the staple pieces in your closet?
Black leather jacket, ripped boyfriend jeans and leather ankle boots.
Who is your Modern Muse?
My mother. I can only wish to one-day resemble her qualities as a woman, and someday a mother. She is the hardest working person I know and somehow maintains this effortless peace around her despite all the conflict and sacrifices she has made for her family.