by Lanny Udell
Dancing tango since: Dancing has always been Jasmine’s passion, but she is fairly new to tango, having started in September 2013. “I love it, and having dance in my background makes it a little easier for me,” she says. “I jumped in with both feet. Once you discover it, it’s all-consuming.”
The back story: In high school Jasmine wanted to be a professional dancer, but her dad, a struggling artist, wanted her to study something practical. So Jasmine decided to major in business. She also fell in love with geography, focusing on how people connect with cultural geography. After graduating, she became an art teacher in a Montessori school. She also has a background in business development and people management, and is a partner in Jen Pearson Design. But the lure of dance still calls to her.
Why tango: “The dance is very delicate and elegant, unlike lindy hop which is high energy,” she explains. “The connection is very different. Tango is a closer connection…you are dancing *in* the music, rather than *to* the music. And, you’re absolutely in the moment with somebody. It feels very intimate.” Jasmine also appreciates the technicality of tango. And that it attracts people who want to make a commitment to the dance, the culture and the community. “It’s a forever learning experience.”
Favorite part: For Jasmine, it’s the yin and yang… the softness and the angles. “It’s not just one-dimensional,” she says. “The surrender feels incredibly good; it feels special to have that with a perfect stranger.” While on a 5-week trip to Germany, Jasmine didn’t dance at all. “I realized how much I get from connecting in the embrace and how incredible that feels,” she recalls.
About Debbie & John: They don’t put on their teacher caps and then leave,” observes Jasmine. “They stay themselves. They are joyful, kind, patient…and incredibly generous with information and attention,” she says. “It’s been the best learning for me, to be in that environment.”
Anything else? Jasmine performed in Alma del Tango’s 2014 student production,
“Tango Magic.” (You may remember her performance in the Wallflowers number and the women’s choreography piece, Leonora’s Song.)
She will be dancing in the upcoming production, “Dreamscapes,” partnered by Jose Orellano, and in an all-women’s dance called “Femme Fatale.” (Tickets for the Valentine’s weekend show are on sale now!)
Last Word: Jasmine has been invited to join as a member/apprentice in Debbie’s new professional company, Debbie Goodwin Dance Company.
(pictured at top: Jasmine performed with the Decobelles at the Paramount Theater in Oakland)