In 2017, Tara Lee was one of five cofounding members of Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre, where she teaches and is resident choreographer. Her latest work is The Poet, a dance film available to stream through July 10. Lee has had a 24-year dance career with Atlanta Ballet, Ballet British Columbia and the Joffrey Ballet. (Photo by Joseph Guay)
I was always sensitive to being different because I was the only Asian in my school until high school. But as an artist, I have felt empowered by my uniqueness. I have not experienced overt violence or hatred toward me. I always try with these tragedies [such as the violence toward Asian women] to focus on the best of what we can be, our potential. When I am creating, I admire and respect diversity. I want to see how we are connected, not what separates us, to see the truth of who we are in a profound way. I keep coming back to that theme. It’s an uncomfortable process. I try to put things in a broader, spiritual context, one of unconditional love.
My strength is my family and the energy that I pray to. That’s what I find to be stable and unmoving when things are tumultuous in life. I moved my parents here from Connecticut in November. It was scary because it was in the middle of what was happening, but now I get to see them all the time. I want to be thankful for the basic things. Our health, checking in with those we care about, being present with each other.
I hope there is refreshed energy and spirit when people come back into connection in a physical way. As artists, as dancers, we really miss the audience. The dialogue you have in a live show you can’t get any other way. I think it will be charged with thankfulness now. We recently did a live show in Hilton Head. I don’t think audiences realize how much artists can feel how loving they are, how artists accept the audience’s energy and bounce it back.