Dance is less about ‘steps’ and more about ‘feel’: exclusive with Yvette Lee
“I am sure the world could live without dance but I wouldn’t want to live in it!”—Yvette Lee.
According to internationally renowned choreographer Yvette Lee, she believes creativity is the essence of all dance. “Dance is a natural human expression of feeling, emotion, truth and creativity,” she says. Without creative knowledge, the world would be a very dull place. For Yvette, various interpretations of what we think dance means is what makes the concept of it so wonderful. “It is amazing to watch babies who can’t yet walk connect to a rhythm they hear in music, or an elderly couple embrace and sway to a song,” Yvette says. “Dance is inbuilt in each and every one of us; it is just the personal expression and interpretation that is different.”
Yvette Lee has an abundance of professional credits under her belt, including So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, China’s Next Top Model and Asia’s Got Talent (just to name a few—there is so much more). While Yvette has solidified her place in the dance industry, she too keeps learning new things every day on the job. She’s extremely fortunate to have crossed paths with the late legendary choreographer Ross Coleman midway through her dance career. “Working with Ross was quite like nothing I had experienced before and anyone else who has worked with him will tell you the exact same thing,” Yvette explains. She auditioned for Ross for a Channel 9 television show, which she was successfully selected to be one of the season’s dancers. Yvette compares his choreographic ability to magic, claiming his work transforms into something out of this world. “He was the one who sparked my passion for choreography—his choreographic approach was so interesting to me,” Yvette says. What captivated Yvette the most was him teaching her how to workshop on dancers’ bodies as opposed to coming into a rehearsal with everything 100 percent mapped out. “He taught me that dance is less about the steps and more about the feel,” Yvette smiles. Ross also taught her how to channel negative energy into humour, and implementing that in a piece. These ideologies passed down to Yvette is something she hopes to hold close for the rest of her dancing days. He brought her into the realm of music theatre as well as television, which has rapidly become a big passion for Yvette. “Not only is he my greatest mentor, but also is my dear friend.”
Perhaps one of the greatest lessons Yvette has learned from Ross Coleman is how to be inspired not only by music but by life. Inspiration is vital to forming something that is emotionally driven, natural and colourful. “As much as our job relies on our body, it equally relies on our brain,” says Yvette. A dance studio is like a creative land, where human interaction is a vital part of the creative process. But what happens if we lose that inspiration, even for a moment? Yvette believes that losing inspiration at times is a natural thing and it happens to everyone. “Some days you can’t push creativity if it isn’t offering itself to you, but I guarantee if you take a little time out to re-balance, it will always come flooding back,” she adds. Yvette loves to practice yoga and mindfulness and she believes it is an effective way to nurture her body and brain.
Feeling nurtured in our own bodies is something Yvette wants to instil in her students. She wants dancers to be comfortable in their own skin. “Being ‘you’ and being proud of who you are as a person and an artist is paramount to your success, so I hope to encourage self-worth and feeling free to move with your own interpretation of the choreography I set,” Yvette tells. She stresses that festivals such as Victorian Dance Festival are important to the dance community because it brings everyone together and provides a platform to remind patrons that dance is a form of expression and not a competitive state of opinion.
Article originally posted on VDF blog site, written by Jessica Poulter.