as Site Coordinator for a non-profit organization called Dallas Afterschool.
Dallas Afterschool acts as a resource to provide quality curriculum and
training to after-school programs across Dallas. Although, this is how she pays
the bills, dance is and has always been her lifelong passion. A dream chaser,
Lockett moved to Dallas shortly after graduating from Brenau University in
Georgia, to join the Dallas Black Dance Theater. Student turned virtuoso, don’t
worry, this tiny Dancer isn’t done yet. Yasmine is determined to make her mark
on the dance world. Never one to bend to complacency, Yasmine has her ambitious
mind set on monumental goals for her future.Tell me
I don’t follow the rules. I was raised in a
strategic plan household. The plan was go to school, get an education, then go
to college, have a good career, get married, have kids, so on and so forth.
I’ve put some of that on hold because I am a dream chaser. When you chase your
dreams there is no rubric, no rulebook, no strategic plan. Things just
fall into place.
inspired you to be a dancer?
will. The first three years, I cried and acted a fool in class until I realized
that I could compete and receive trophies. It wasn’t until around age 5 or 6
that I really started to enjoy dance. I began taking real dance classes at this
studio in Atlanta, joined a small dance company, did the whole Abby Lee Miller
dance stuff. I competed across the U.S. and started racking up trophies. I
loved it. I danced in high school then eventually I went to college and majored
in dance at Brenau University, a female liberal arts college that has one of
the top two dance programs in the state of Georgia. After graduation, I
auditioned for Dallas Black Dance Theatre. The Director at the time knew
the studio owner I grew up with and upon graduation she contacted me that there
was an opening for a dancer my size with my skill set. I put together a video,
sent it to him and then he came to Atlanta.
I did an in person audition and three weeks later I was in Dallas. Dance
is why I am in Dallas.
your opinion of Dallas Arts’ scene?
It’s colorful. When I lived in Atlanta eight
years ago, the big thing as far as performing arts for black people was hip hop.
It may have changed now but at the time I didn’t want to set in Hip Hop as a
back up dancer. I trained my whole life in ensemble dance and ballet, that’s
what I wanted to do as a performing artist. So whether it was Dallas or New
York, I was excited to go to be able to do what I was passionate about. It was
surprising when I first moved to Dallas. When I said it was more colorful than
Atlanta, I mean more diverse, especially in the performing arts scene as an
African American woman. There were more job opportunities in contemporary,
ballet, African, not just hip hop. I feel there is more respect for the arts in
Dallas. In Texas as whole, if you ask me. I like it. It wasn’t I expected
because Atlanta isn’t as big as Dallas and there was less representation. I was
surprised that a bigger city offered more.
Who were your early artistic influences?
but he’s been a big role model in my life for the last 20 something years. Gregory
Hines. Tap is my first love, I keep tap shoes in my car. If you go into contemporary
setting, I was always a fan of Virginia Johnson with The Dance Theater of
Harlem. Judith Jamison, Alvin Ailey, and
Carmen de Lavallade who I met while dancing with The Dallas Black Dance Theater. Mia Micheals,
not many talk about her but she is my modern day influence.
been your experience as a woman in the arts positive or negative?
not apart of an all black organization or if you don’t look like you’re born in
Russia, you’ll get passed up left and right. So I always make sure my
personality and skill set on point. The ideal dancer is a thin, flexible, and
appeasing to the eye. I’m appeasing to the eye but I was never very thin or
flexible. I always have to work harder than the average girl. In the black
dance community, people are real cut throat about who you know. If you don’t
know somebody, you’re not going to get the job. Thankfully, I knew someone and
had the talent to match but my career started because I knew someone. Even after
I got the job. I was always auditioning even though I was a member. I auditioned
everyday. It was tough.
you’re small. You have to look a certain way. I have a lot of hair but it has
to be straight and long. There’s always something you have to work on and once
you master it there’s something else. I’m 5’1” and most companies want their female
dancers to be 5’3″ and above. I always have to show them why they need to
pick the short girl. I needed to show
them my talent was beyond being thrown in the air like most short dancers are.
For me, it has always been a struggle but I love it. It has always been a
passion. I don’t regret any of the experiences I’ve gone through.What
The wow factor. I like making a difference. I
like setting trends. I like waking up everyday excited about what I’m going to
do. I’ve always prided myself on the experience over the money. Being able to
make a difference in someone else’s life inspires me the most, which is why I
do what I do for my 9-5 job. I make difference in the lives of children and
those who work with children. I love it.
gives you the most joy?
given growing up to kids whose parents can’t provide that. When I was growing
up, my parents paid for my dance tuition. They struggled but they still did it.
I didn’t rely on my school to have a program or some nice person who wanted to teach
me. My parents paid for it. So being able to provide those services for kids
who don’t have those resources available gives me the most joy. That’s what
attracted me to the position. I was able to combine all my dance and art
experience to design quality programs in Dallas to underserved kids.
bring to the table artistically that is unique to you?
growing up having to take classes in dance and art. I’ve taught dance or art
class. I’ve been a site coordinator that has designed and provided programs.
I’ve been the performer, I’m still the performer who goes on stage, takes her
crafts, and performs in front of diverse audiences. I’ve been a trainer to
people who provide art services to others. I feel like having all that
experience makes me well rounded and unique.
to be a studio owner for a long time but my blueprint has expanded to a
foundation. A one-stop shop. For example, someone comes in with three kids, one
want to do music, one likes dance, the other want to play football and they can
all receive all the resources for each area at the foundation. I want to run it
and I want all the people I made connections with over the last ten years to assist
me with it.