August 1st, 2022Inspiring Jasmine
From a young age, Daylesford’s Jasmine Gruar knew she wanted to be a ballet dancer. Her memories of dancing with her sister at home cemented her love of dance.
“I remember dancing with my nan and mum at home, my sister and I would put on performances that we would copy from ballet dances and I enjoyed it so much I started classes and knew it was what I wanted to do when I was older,” she said.
Jasmine began her training at Starz Dance Centre in Kyneton, taking on ballet, contemporary and jazz. It wasn’t long before she started competing in solo competitions under the watchful and encouraging eye of her dance teacher.
“My biggest inspiration was my first teacher Miss Laura; she was fantastic and provided me with so many opportunities. I looked up to her so much and I’m still in contact with her to this day.”
At 16, Jasmine has accomplished a great deal in her young life. At 14 she began training with Ballet Theatre Australia under the guidance of former Australian Ballet soloist, Ben Davis. It was here Jasmine trained under a rigorous and fulfilling regime of classical ballet based on the Vaganova syllabus, contemporary, repertoire, character, pas de deux and acting.
She has completed her Australian Teachers of Dancing exams and has danced in many ballets such as The Nutcracker, Giselle, Coppelia and Sleeping Beauty.
“I auditioned for Ballet Theatre Australia in 2019 when I was 14. I got accepted for the following year and I remember how nerve-racking the audition was. I was in a class with 19-year old dancers doing steps I had never learnt. I didn’t think I would get in but I was so thrilled when I did,” she said.
“I began dancing full time at BTA in 2020 and since the travel from Daylesford to Melbourne everyday was so tiring, my family and I decided I’d move in with some close friends in the city and travel home on the weekends.
“It was very hard as I am very close with my family and not being with them every day was extremely difficult. I am so lucky with how accepting they were for letting me go ahead with my dream as not many 14-year old kids move away from home.”
In 2021 Jasmine suffered a number of injuries. While she said the pain was hard to deal with, she thought resting over the holiday break would make a difference. But her injuries worsened.
“After some MRIs it turned out I had a stress fracture in my left foot and snapping hip syndrome. I tried a lot of physiotherapy but it was very exhausting and I was in a lot of pain. I decided it was best to move back home halfway through 2022 and return to normal school. It wasn’t easy to leave but I am so grateful I got such an amazing experience with the best teachers,” she said.
Despite such a devastating setback, Jasmine has continued to pursue her love of dance and became a teacher at Inside Out Dance Theatre in Daylesford where she has become her own version of ‘Miss Laura’ inspiring and teaching budding dancers across the region.
“For me, personally balancing school and work isn’t too hard. I am in year 11 and also doing VCE dance which is really great for my teaching. I find that if I just stay on top of things, it doesn’t become stressful. I love my job so much and I hope to continue it after finishing school. I plan to one day open my own studio so I can continue to teach and bring up fantastic dancers,” she said.
As we celebrate Youth Day, Jasmine, who said her two greatest achievements are dancing Clara in The Nutcracker and being awarded the Avril Binzer Most Promising Ballerina Award for Victoria, has one simple piece of advice for kids of all ages.
“You just need to go for it. I tell all my students in class to be confident as it is something you need for everything in life. If I was too scared, I would not be where I am now in life, and if you don’t do the things you want, you will end up regretting it!”
And having the opportunity to live in Melbourne and return, Jasmine says there are a number of things she would like to see across the region for our youth.
“I would love to see more community-run programs for youth. I think more things out in nature, creative workshops, mental health programs and more activities to help younger people be inspired to achieve bigger goals and plan their future would really benefit our town.”
For now, Jasmine is juggling school and teaching and already preparing her students for the end of year performance, while somewhere in her schedule finding the time to be a teenager living in Daylesford. Words: Narelle Groenhout