I'm a first generation American with roots in London, Panama, Barbados and St. Lucia. My parents are both amazing people who shared their professions, cultures, and stories with me from long ago. My identity has involved me being so proud of who I am and what I do for a living that being a person of the Global Majority, inspiration is how I move forward. I’m so excited to share a little bit about myself and continuing to build my artistry.
Im a second generation dance artist as my mother was the first, Jay Skeete-Lee. I would be in the corner of the studio playing with toys while my mother rehearsed and taught classes throughout New York. Next think you know, i started dancing and often sharing the stage with my Mother. I was never interested in making a professional career in dance until the age of 18 years old when i auditioned for Juilliard. From that moment, i wanted to give dance a gamble as opposed to me obtaining a degree in Biology for medical school.
I attended the Ailey/Fordham University program where I got a contract with Alvin Ailey II, Freelanced, worked with Oakland Ballet, College Dance Collective, and currently here in Dance Theatre of Harlem. Its been a wonderful journey and I'm ready for some theatre and Broadway work under my belt.
The future for me can go in so many directions from choreography, teaching and mentoring in higher education, creating a one woman show to dance entrepreneurship. The beauty is that I have connections and a lot to offer and I'm excited to see how i continue to transform.
What advice do you have for the aspiring dancer/choreographer/dance community?
My advance for dancers always evolves and here are a few. KNOW YOUR WORTH! Dancers tend to stay in places due to fear of not being able to work elsewhere or freelance. Some of my greatest career moments have me being professional with companies, but also exploring and taking on other opportunities to gain new skills.
There is more to dance than just getting into popular or “designer” companies. Some of the smallest companies and projects you will find fulfillment and growth. Also, for dancers to stop looking for certain things to validate who they are in the dance world. Just because you didn’t make it in a particular magazine, doesn’t mean you aren’t a great artist.
Learn other things outside of dance like social justice, marketing, or business to diversify your income and creative ways. Lastly, to my people of the Global Majority studying or involved with any of the codified techniques. Do not let these forms of dance brainwash your culture, identity or heritage. I see it a lot in the ballet world where dancers realize they can embrace who they are while participating in ballet culture. There are levels to assimilating in dance but bringing your true self forward into the artistry makes for a unique experience as an artist.
What do you find beautiful?
What I find most beautiful these days is everything that I grow through and continue to do. After the passing of my mother, I’ve been encouraged from that moment to bring my best self to things and also listen to myself more. I find me being in love beautiful and the relationship I’m apart of.
Is there anything you would like to share with us?
I want to give a shout out to all my amazing artist friends, everyone at Dancegeist, Kendell Dempster, my Hollins family and looking forward to the opportunities to come.