Interviews

Yvette Lee: Looking forward to her best year yet

Yvette Lee.
Yvette Lee.

The 2021 dance year has started, and although it still looks a little different to previous years, there’s a lot to look forward to. Here, Dance Informa speaks with Aussie dance icon Yvette Lee about her outlook for 2021, and how we can all make it our best year yet.

Yvette Lee teaching at VDF.
Photo by Jayde Justin.

It’s finally a new year, after the disruption of 2020! How can students ramp up their energy, focus and get ready for an exceptional new year of dance?

“Coming into 2021, there has been a lot of uncertainty, but we have to put our best foot forward; that is just what we do as dancers and as performers. Just keep a really good focus on your mindset and your mental health. Push yourself to get back into training, and find inspirations to reignite your passion. Work out exactly why you love to dance. 

From a professional perspective, you have such highs and lows in your working life. So, although this season has been difficult, coping with low periods is a really good tool for young dancers to learn now. You need to learn how to reignite your passions and how to stay positive and involved when there is not a lot of work around, because as professionals that is what we have to do. You have to dig and find ways to challenge yourself and be ready for the next opportunity. If students learn that skill now, it is not going to be as hard when they become professionals.”

Yvette Lee.

So you’re about to fly to Sydney for a new gig, now that the borders have opened. Tell us about it. 

“My beautiful Hayes Theatre family are doing Young Frankenstein, which is the first musical back at the Hayes this year, which we are so excited about. It is the same amazing team that I did American Psycho with last year. We put the entire same team back together. After the 2020 break, this will be my first professional job in Sydney again, and I am so excited about it. I am also doing a job assisting Squared Division again, which I always LOVE. It is so nice to be back!”

Describe the feeling in the industry at the moment, after the disappointment of 2020.

“I guess, it’s like the feeling in the world in general at the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty. There is a lot of unknown surrounding when theatres will be back at full capacity and when there will be no restrictions on dance class sizes. But you know, in that is also a whole lot of new possibilities as well. Coming out of 2020, there’s been a lot of new and different methods to learning and rehearsing. There’s possibly a new future for the industry. You can put your walls up against it, but you have to just sort of roll with it, and things are slowly getting back to normal bit by bit. It is probably going to take a while and things are probably going to ebb and flow, open and shut, but I think that is just the way of the world at the moment.”

Victorian Dance Festival
Yvette Lee teaching at VDF.
Photo by Jayde Justin

At the end of this year, what are you hoping to have achieved and experienced?

“I think 2021 is going to be one of the best, to be honest. I just think that because we have been through such a challenging time in 2020, in 2021, we are all going to be so much more appreciative of what we have. Things will come back, and we will appreciate being part of everything that we lost last year. Instead of what normally happens when the years roll on and we all just get busy and get the job done, I think this year, people are going to sort of stop and be thankful for what is coming back. So, I reckon it is going to be one of the best!”

By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.

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