Rachel Lee from Trinidad is a professional dancer who has trained in three disciplines: Indian Classical, Modern and Ballet. She can fuse these forms together in her choreography.
Cedriann Martin of the Trinidad Express recently interviewed her and she spoke of Michael’s influence.
Lee’s foundation in dance is Indian Classical and the beat of ‘Will You Be There’ one of Michael’s most beautiful songs, she “moves from the dramatic, powerful postures of Kuchipudi to many of the slick steps (Michael) has immortalised-thrusting hip and gliding feet. It underlines the shared impact, energy and precision of vastly different art forms and is her emotional homage to one of the world’s most influential dance innovators”
Lee says; “Since I was a child when Michael came out with “Thriller” I was like ‘Oh my God!’ I had always loved Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly those types of styles. When Michael brought all that into his music and videos that impacted me. A lot of people connected to Michael’s dancing but I was connected to his spirit,” 35-year-old Lee qualifies. “When he dances and sings his entire being is different. You can tell that’s how he connects with God. So for me it’s not so much about miming Michael. It’s about identifying with the love and passion he has for his work and demonstrating that I have the same commitment to my performance.”
Rachel was brought up in a musical family. During the mid 1990s she studied modern, ballet and jazz with the esteemed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York rather than travel to India to further her studies.
She now works with her husband and they have formed DWA,
a dance theatre production company. He does the writing, directing and production. She handles everything else, from choreography to sewing costumes.
News of Michael’s death came as they were about to stage ‘Eternal’ a tribute to a number of friends they had lost to illness or violence recently.
Rachel hadn’t been planning on doing a Michael tribute before, but it suddenly became the most relevant culmination to the show. She admits that she remained numb until the image of Michael’s coffin in the memorial service drove reality home.
“I just broke down at that point,” she remembers. “He was such a big inspiration in my life. Personally I think Michael died a long time ago. You could see it in his eyes. When he had to go through those trials he died. That’s why he was saying these were his last shows. There is nothing left for him to do. He has introduced so many new things and set so many records.”
To find out more about DWA check them out on Facebook by searching for D:W(2) Productions or call 785-2176 or 482-3384 for bookings.
Source: Trinidad Express & MJWN, with special thanks to Reva Thomas