Keith Lee has developed his skills as a dance-maker through a lifetime of immersion in the art form. He began studying song and dance as a young child at The Little Theatre in Brooklyn, and later performed in The King and I at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, there Ben Vereen identified Lee’s talent and encouraged him to pursue formal training at the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. As a dance prodigy Keith has been composing dances since 1968 – his first work, “Portrait of a Young Couple” premiered at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts, New York, New York. His distinctive style has developed over decades of experience and includes both intimate chamber dances and expansive ensemble pieces.
Lee excelled in the School, receiving Capezio Awards for distinction in both ballet and modern dance techniques. While attending the High School of Performing Arts, Lee also studied at Harkness House for Ballet Arts, sponsored by heiress Rebekah Harkness. This seminal period in his education careered him toward the footlights. Upon graduation in 1968, Lee joined American Ballet Theatre and was promoted to the rank of soloist the following year. His repertory included the choreography of such luminaries as Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Agnes DeMille, Lar Lubovitch, Jerome Robbins, and Antony Tudor.
Master Class – Instruction in American Ballet and Modern Dance techniques for advanced dancers.
Lecture Demonstration – Learn about the process of making dances – from phrases of movement vocabulary to a complete dance composition. See the dance unfold. Followed by a question and answer session with the artist.
Performance – Main stage performances of the works of Keith Lee. The repertory includes works of contemporary and classical ballet.
Studio to Stage – The artist stages choreography on a group, taking the compositions from the studio to its final form - the stage.
As Lee began to transition into the role of dance teacher, he also responded to his growing impulse to choreograph. Over a decade Mr. Lee has served as Ballet Master of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Capitol Ballet, and Nanette Bearden’s Contemporary Chamber Dance Company. He has taught classes in American Ballet and Modern Dance in independent studios, dance conservatories, and college and university dance departments throughout North America and is certified to teach all levels of American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum.
"The stage crackled with excitement for a few minutes the other night at the Theater of the Riverside Church, in a performance by the Keith Lee Ballet of Contemporary Arts. The occasion was ''Mama Rose,'' dedicated to the late Thelma Hill, a much-loved New York dance teacher. Set to nervily intense jazz and poetry by Archie Shepp, the solo hinted poignantly at the disparate black American cultures of the days before and after the struggle for racial equality of the 1960's, all in one smoothly blended whole." –– Jennifer Dunning of The Chicago Times