Rouse Has Found Her Voice Through Dance
By Stephanie Edmonds
The ground seemed to tremble beneath her feet, her heart beat like a thousand drums, the spotlight was blinding and all that she could hear was the sound of her own breath… there was no turning back now.
Jasmine Rouse sashayed on stage with her fellow company members in The Pointe! Studio of Dance Company’s production of The Wiz, an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
“Dance has given me the opportunity to understand what kind of lifestyle I want to live and really who I want to be,” she said. “The experiences that I have received from performing have opened so many doors for me.”
For some people ballet is an evening out or a pleasure-filled pastime, but to Rouse it’s a lifestyle. Many of her most valuable relationships and opportunities have been a direct result of her 14-year dance career.
Her mother started her in classes at age 2 because “she thought that every little girl would want to dance.” Very quickly people began to realize that Rouse wasn’t just “every little girl.” At age 8 she was featured in an independent film called Boone Creek and since then has participated in multiple ballet programs nationwide, some of which included trips to New York to perform with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Dance Theater of Harlem.
She said: “The passion of dance is what keeps me going throughout life, and I need it is a constant. There have been times when I thought that dance might get in the way of me pursuing other things. I soon realized that it’s something I could never give up.”
Asked who her role model is, Rouse exclaimed without hesitation, “prima ballerina and soloist Misty Copeland!” Copeland has been an inspiration to Rouse especially because “you don’t see many African American ballerinas play lead roles due to the fact that producers are so specific about what kind of look that they want in a show.”
Rouse explained that, by nature, she has always been an introverted person and that dance has been an outlet for her to express herself and display her diversity in a very rare, intimate and independent way. Ballet inspired her to break out her comfort zone and also allowed her to delve into the realm of journalism.
She loves the idea of moving to a big city and running around to conduct one-person interviews to gather public opinion on issues prevalent in today’s society.
Rouse believes that “everyone has a story which needs to be told.” She also feels strongly about raising awareness on a wide range of social and cultural issues so that others’ eyes will be opened to the world around them.
When she isn’t writing or dancing she volunteers as an Algebra ESL tutor for Latino students or participates in Dancers Against Cancer. She is an avid member of Northern High School’s Spanish Honors Society and a mentor for Girl Hub.