Jasmine Hearn is a performer, director, choreographer, organizer, and teaching artist. A native Houstonian, they graduated magna cum laude from Point Park University with their B.A. in Dance. She currently is a member of Urban Bush Women Dance Company and also collaborates with BANDportier, Vanessa German, and Alisha B. Wormsley. They have worked and performed with David Dorfman Dance, Alesandra Seutin’s vocabdance, Solange Knowles, Kate Watson-Wallace, STAYCEE PEARL dance project, Marjani Forté-Saunders, will rawls, Tara Aisha Willis, Jennifer Myers, Helen Simoneau Danse, Lovie Olivia, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, and with Nick Mauss as a part of exhibition, TRANSMISSIONS, at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Awarded a 2017 “Bessie"Award for Outstanding Performance with Skeleton Architecture, Jasmine has had residencies at the PearlArts Studios, Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Camargo Foundation, and Dance Source Houston. She currently is a 2018 Movement Research AIR and a 2019 Jerome Foundation Jerome Hill Artist Fellow. They spend their time as vessel and storyteller using dance and sound as materials to compose, conjure, teach, and perform around the world.
I come from a village within a city—a collection of individuals who helped my mother care for me. I come from a coven of womyn who taught me how to survive as a black femme in this country. I have connected with healers, movers, performers, witches, and organizers who make up my community that spans the world.
The body of my work is rooted in the belief, which has been given language from my time working with Marjani Forte-Saunders, Tara Aisha Willis, and Staycee Pearl, that I am a vessel for ancestry and spirt to speak through. I offer work that remembers and honors past, speaks of present, and prepares community for future. As a choreographer, dancer, sound-maker, and performer, I have been investigating how the body is able to use memory, sensation, and imagination as ways to enter embodied practices to articulate story, ancestry, and personal truth. I am committed in the facilitation of an environment that gives space for folks to connect with their fantasy and feeling.
I am a keeper of tales and memories.
My artistic practice is a collage of habits, colors, memories, tasks, rituals, and intentions. It intends to access memory—to open and retell. It is a song and a calling. It is the answer to my 7 year old self who casted spells in her bathtub..spells that dripped honey, affirmation, and the belief that magic lives in the marrow of our bones. This is the moment from the future she got a glimpse of that gave her the courage to continue to listen, to dream, and to feel.
I was clumsy so my mother put me in ballet following the footsteps of my older sister. I started my dance practice listening and improvising to my favorite songs. And I continued my "formal" training at the Houston Ballet Academy later continuing at the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center and Episcopal High School under the direction of Evelyn Ireton and Frank Vega. An intern with the Houston Met Professional Dance Company during my senior year of high school, I entered a mentoring relationship with dance artist and choreographer, jhon r. stronks.
Since graduating Point Park University, I have had the wonderful opportunity to have had an extensive performance career in Pittsburgh, PA. I started as a company member with the, now no longer, Dance Alloy Theater, and then as a core collaborator with the STAYCEE PEARL dance project. Other folks I have had a chance to work with include; Attack Theater, Gia T. Cacalano, the Pillow Project, and the August Wilson Dance Ensemble. At that time, I also began to share self-made solos rooted in dance and performance theater with communities in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas.
I began with making these solos as responses to personal experiences and current events. if god left the lights on could we walk alone in the dark, my response to street harassment and societal constructs of femininity, has premiered in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, NYC, and Houston. The piece, described as “a beautiful frustration of gender roles and our own collusion with the cages they create” (HoustonPress 2013), was the beginning of my choreographic career. I participated in the newMoves Emerging Choreographers Festival in 2010 and 2012 and continued to share my work with the Pittsburgh at summer festivals and curated showcases. In 2013, I had the opportunity to direct, produce, and choreograph a summer dance series, that’s what she said-- site specific vignettes found in the Garfield and East Liberty neighborhoods. This project was funded by The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments’ Investing in Professional Artists: The Pittsburgh Region Artists Program. That summer at the Capital Fringe Festival an installment of that’s what she said was presented in Washington D.C.
In 2016, I made a solo titled CINDER that was made while I was an artist in residence at the Dance Source Houston's The BARN. This piece is the beginning of solo project, blue, sable, and burning. As a 2016 Movement Research Van Lier fellow, I was able to continue working on this project, which was also funded by The Pittsburgh Foundation with the Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Grant with a space donation from The Space Upstairs and the Braddock Carnegie Library. During this time I was also collaborating with choreographers and artists, Marjani Forte-Saunders, Kate Watson Wallace, Jennifer Meridian, Ayanah Moor, and Julien Prévieux, and working with my grandmother, Claudette Johnson and videographer, Paul Kruse to put together video series, MEMORY KEEP(H)ER.
A 2016 Movement Research Van Lier Fellow, I had the pleasure to have shared my work around the country including various festivals such as, the Lion’s Jaw Festival (Boston, MA), the LA MAMA MOVES Festival (NYC, NY), the NewMOVES Festival (Pittsburgh, PA), and at Dance Source Houston’s BARNSTORM Festival. I have choreographed and produced site specific and solo work with support from the Heinz Foundation and the Pittsburgh Foundation with the Investing in Professional Artist Grant and the Advancing the Black Arts Award. I have also received support from the Houston Arts Alliance with 2016 alternative archive video project, MEMORY KEEP(H)ER, which I collaborated with filmmaker, Paul Kruse, and my grandmother, Claudette Johnson.
With collaborating artists, I premiered new work, shook at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery produced by Danspace Project. A performance piece that intends to evoke a time and space for black women to be trusted, Maura Donahue describes the work “filling out the sanctuary like a Melina Matsoukas video, living in the interstitial, forever becoming” (Culturebot, November 2017).