I'll tell you what, especially during a year of seemingly no avail, there's been a certain sense of escapism that comes with finding a form of movement that hits home for you. The focus, the letting go, the trust and the exploration of creating shapes with your body is parallel to a meditative experience (insert Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love). With that being said, movement is a universal language with its very own spectrum of accents and dialects. These variations spill through somatic expression, giving us all the ability to tell our unique story; to embody our lives. We spoke to good friend, Club Member and Dancer with the Australian Ballet, Jasmin Durham, to discuss life in movement and in art.
What does the childhood dream of twirling through life in a tutu really look like?
Jasmin spends most of her typical working year with the Australian Ballet between Melbourne and Sydney. During peak seasons (roughly 6 months each year), she performs in eight shows a week. Her day usually begins with a 45 minute walk to the theatre, followed by her own Pilates to warm up before a 90 minute Ballet class. Once class has finished, she squeezes in 20 minutes of gym where possible before or after a 2 hour rehearsal. Lunch is her break to recharge before preparing for a 7:30pm show after which her day wraps up at about 10:00pm. This year has been Jasmin's most substantial break from Ballet since she was thirteen.
"It sounds pretty crazy now but that's just what I did. It's what I felt like I had to do. This year has really taught me the value of rest," Jasmin said, "Both mentally and physically. The whole concept of 'working harder is better' really led to a burn out that I wasn't aware of until now. I've found the same love for Ballet during this year that I felt when I was a kid. That feeling of calm and feeling beautiful within myself, as corny as that sounds." "Being at home in isolation, I've really learnt to tune into my own movement experience without comparing myself to others and to trust in my own body. In being forced to slow down my routine, I've found joy in the smaller things all over again. I know that my new perspective has in turn created the framework for a more sustainable and efficient work ethic," says Jasmin.
For those that move religiously, there's such a huge sense of movement hygiene and self-care that comes with all practices. Similar to brushing your teeth in the morning or dusting the cob webs out from the unchartered corners of your living room ceiling. We find self-worship in: the catharsis of Barre work in Ballet through setting up the foundations of the body from the feet up. That grounded feeling in Pilates of working through your hip rolls or your leg presses on a Reformer bed. The deep dive into your thousandth Yoga sun salutation and being able to experience the nuances differently each time.
"Movement to me creates energy. Movement gives me the awareness and connection to my body to feel confident in myself and my surroundings," says Jasmin. Connecting with the Club Ronny community online during a time of physical isolation has led to my most recent exploration into oscillation, otherwise known as 'movement back and forth in a regular rhythm', kind of like a swing or pendulum. Just as the seasons naturally oscillate, the energy exchange between yourself and others keeps the drum of community beating. Essentially, your presence in giving and taking creates the very pulse of the world.
With the roaring hum of our world coming into a new rhythm, we implore you to notice your very own oscillations. The energy you give, the energy you take and that space in between where you can simply just be.
You can find Jasmin Durham on Instagram HERE
Click HERE to discover more on her Australian Ballet Artist profile