A Pre-K to Grade 12 Independent Quaker Day School Serving the Greater Durham-Chapel Hill Area

Alum Reflection: Dance and Science

CFS helped marry my interest in dance with my passion for science. My teachers’ encouragement led me to Duke University for the Howard Hughes Precollege program in Biological Sciences, which led to a job in their Behavioral Ecology labs. Continuing to pursue science in college, I later entered the research world at Temple University, working in an Epigenetics Lab in the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology. 

I never thought of myself as a choreographer, a scientist, or a teacher; life just presented itself to me that way. Even though I don’t explicitly engage in science at the moment, all aspects of science play a role in my work. Sometimes it is with body language or knowledge of the body’s facility, through the study of Pilates. Other times, it’s a more holistic science, using our bodies as access points into deeper personal meaning and discovery. 

I found my voice in the arts. Art is my access point for teaching and introducing my students to dance, whether it is through a historical, political, technical, or a creative lens. In dance, you can understand the micro and macro, all in a single move, if you are open to seeing it differently and regularly allow your perspective to shift. 

 I value the sense of internal accomplishment that CFS has instilled as a culture, teaching strategy, and recuperative state of being. CFS helps you discover who you are in moments of silence, solitude, and reflection. It teaches you to take ownership of your journey and find what works for you. When doors might appear closed, CFS shows you the multiple ways to get inside a room to work towards your next step. It also teaches you to learn that disappointment is also an avenue for growth. 

My latest project is to produce and direct my second engagement with DIDA - Durham Independent Artists Series. In my upcoming DIDA performance, Approximation of a Woman, I explore the cost of being a woman who lives her life on its own vulnerable terms. It will premiere at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham in May 2019. 

Ever since my time at CFS, I have constantly sought new experiences, learning and trying, even when the outcome is not favorable. I recognize that I am not done growing in any of my roles, and I continually examine my surroundings and myself during my lifetime of learning. 

Jasmine Powell ’04 is a dance artist from Hillsborough, NC.  Locally trained, her performance career began with Durham’s Collage Dance Company, then moved to join Dance Diaspora, and Philadanco. Currently, she is on the performing arts faculty at Cary Academy, where she brings cultural history into the dance curriculum. She is also a dancer with KT COLLECTIVE and COMPANY, and creates her own aesthetic choreography locally and regionally with performances and workshops. 

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