Director & Instructor in Ballet, Tap & Ballroom
How long have you been dancing?
Dancing was always more than a hobby to me, it is a passion. After a very brief time of not dancing and missing it terribly, I vowed to myself long ago that I would always dance in some form. I’ve been pretty good at holding true to that, so I guess you could say I have been dancing for a good 40 or more years in some way, form or fashion!
What was the pivotal moment that made you decide to follow your path in ballroom dancing?
I had an interest in Ballroom Dancing from about the age of twelve. However, at that time searching the internet was unheard of in the average household and there were no local classes that I was aware, so it remained a distant dream until I was a young adult. Having the somewhat unexpected opportunity to train and teach Ballroom Dancing as a young adult was truly a fulfilled dream. During that extraordinary time, I had a vision of teaching youth Ballroom Dancing, which was further solidified in later years when I felt a calling to offer such classes as a ministry. As a result, Crosswinds Academy of the Arts was born!
What are some of your favorite places where your work has been performed?
THE STAGE – a beautiful place that I call a positive stress! Nerves ramping up before a performance, but when you walk out on that stage – WOW! Being on stage is like entering an alternate universe. For a girl who was pretty shy, it was often my outlet to come alive and always such an honor to bring consistency and hard work to the stage with the hopes it will bring some type of joy or inspiration to someone in the audience. It is a wonderful feeling to now help create and share that experience with students.
Who inspired you to do this work ?
Ms. Jo Carlisle is such an inspiration to me and is a testament that dancing is a lifelong activity. She was my dance instructor for so many years and just a few years ago, on the verge of her retirement, we celebrated a 50th dance anniversary reunion for her studio where I grew and learned so very much. I remember talking to her once on the phone at a time when I falsely assumed that she had already retired and her words to me were: “Are you kidding – I can’t retire – Do you know how hard it is to find a great tap instructor?” She truly is a great tapper and I had the great honor of learning from her and now passing those lessons on to others.
Of course, students are always an inspiration and I can only hope I am as much of a blessing to them as they are to me.
Is there something you would like to be remembered for?
As far as a legacy – whether a student has taken dance for one semester or many years, either way, I hope they felt the presence and love of Jesus, can remember something concrete as it relates to dance and have fond memories of their time spent dancing with Miss Lee at Crosswinds Academy of the Arts.
What have you found to be your biggest artistic challenge?
Well, I think we can all say 2020 has been a huge challenge! A more personal challenge is that I honestly don’t consider myself to be very creative, so choreography causes stress even though I always love seeing the end product! I consider myself more of a performer who takes the choreography of others – perfecting the moves and bringing it to life – so coming up with my own choreography for multiple numbers is definitely a challenge and am so grateful to now have other instructors to assist in this endeavor.
Watching a recital come together is so much fun, nothing like it! However, a couple days after I always have the same sudden and overwhelming questioning: “Can I do this again?” And then I AM able to do it again (or at least I have over the past 7 years) with Crosswinds! I have the wonderful blessing of having other instructors now, so that has made the process so much easier and fun.
What would you say your future goals include?
At this point in my life I try to take things one day and one feat at a time. As far as Crosswinds, I always say, it is God’s to do with as He wishes. So, I will happily keep plugging along for as long as I feel called to this journey. I like to think Crosswinds may last past me, and I have two wonderful young instructors that have shown interest in carrying it on one day, one of which is my daughter, and that warms my heart.
What are some of your upcoming events?
We have a new dance year beginning this month, August, and currently have a few spots still available in our 4-6 year class and we also host a recital each spring.
What would you like to see happen in Fairview to build a better art community?
I remember the humble beginnings of the Fairview Arts Council and have been in awe watching it grow and being embraced by the encouragement and support of other artists and the larger community! I am honored to have been included in such a wonderful mission and hope I can encourage other artists along the way to get involved and to share their work with the world, beginning in our lovely community!