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Rehearsal with CCC Dance Studio Resident Helen Lee

Helen Lee. Photo credit: Kristie Kahns

About the program

Program Location

2nd Floor, N Chicago Room, Randolph side

Chicago Cultural Center

78 East Washington Street, Chicago, IL

Daily 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

Join DCASE Dance Studio Resident Helen Lee as they rehearse in 100 Links

As a dancemaker and artist, Helen is curious about the ways she can interact with the audience as part of the dancemaking process and/or performance. She asks, “Are there supportive and safe ways to involve the audience in meaningful ways, both in movement and in verbal dialogue? Our bodies hold a lot of information. I wonder if there is a way to explore meanings of joy and grief not only in words but also in finding access through our bodies.”

In utilizing 100 Links, she is experimenting with how much we are seen or desire to be seen in these moments of laughter and/or vulnerability. She is curious about risk and failure in the process of looking at grief and joy and finding play in the process of not knowing what will be discovered.

Helen continues to return to this passage by Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

“Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, does not save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily but we will laugh more easily too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a new way that ennobles or elevates rather than embitters us. We have hardship without being hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.”

Helen was initially looking at joy and grief as sitting next to each other, but hadn’t considered them as being intertwined with each other.

Helen will use curiosity to pull apart and lean into joy and grief and find proliferation within them. She will experiment with risk and failure in the process of looking at grief and joy and to find play in the process of not knowing what will be discovered.

She has been building her relationships with dancers, musicians, and other collaborators. The performers, musicians and collaborators come from diverse backgrounds; They are untrained, highly trained, adoptees, raised in immigrant homes, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, allies. Part of her continual mission is to bring people from all backgrounds together to actively encourage belonging.

About the Artist:

Helen Lee (they/she) is a Queer Asian Chicago-born interdisciplinary artist raised by immigrant parents from South Korea. They received an MFA with a focus in Performance and Film from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in Dance with a minor in Theatre from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. They have been teaching yoga, meditation and mindfulness since 2007. That same year, they formed Momentum Sensorium, a project-based company that has created and choreographed for See Chicago Dance, Out of Site, APIDA Arts Festival, and sometimes in unconventional locations such as lighthouses, train stations, and hallways. They have presented works in the US, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Iceland, Finland and Canada. Helen was selected for 2022 Newcity Breakout Artist and awarded Chicago Artist Coalition’s SPARK Grant. They have been an Artist in Residence at Chicago Artists Coalition, Links Hall, Arteles Creative Center, Fish Factory, KuBa: Kulturbahnhof with a current residency at the Chicago Cultural Center. They are a 2024 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Art and Fellow at High Concept Labs. Much of their work focuses on the senses, death, and the entanglement of light/shadow, summer/winter, joy/grief. They are continually working on Black and Asian allyship, collective healing, and reflecting on the meaning of the celebration of Asian stories, bodies, and voices.



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The Buell Center and AD—WO, Columbia University

New York, United States


The Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture was founded at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (New York City) in 1983. In recent years, the Center has convened conversations among overlapping constituencies, including academics, students, professionals, and the general public. Its current project addresses the topic of Architecture and Land in the Americas, in its historical significance and contemporary relevance. The Center’s director, Lucia Allais (b. London, 1974), is a historian and critic of architecture whose work focuses on the relation between architecture, politics, and technology in the modern period and on the global stage.

AD—WO (Partners: Jen Wood b. Naarm/Melbourne, Australia, 1984, & Emanuel Admassu, b. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1983), is an art and architecture practice based in New York City, and by extension, between Melbourne and Addis Ababa. The practice aims to establish an operational terrain between architecture’s content and container: equally committed to designing buildings and reimagining their sociopolitical contexts. Founded in 2015, AD—WO has undertaken projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Germany, and the United States. Their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Architekturmueum der TU Munchen, and Art Omi. AD—WO’s work is part of the permanent collection at the High Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.


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Chicago Cultural Center


78 East Washington Street, Chicago, IL


The Loop


The Chicago Cultural Center serves as one of the main exhibition venue sites for CAB 5, featuring projects from more than 80 participants from ten countries. 

Opened in 1897, the Chicago Cultural Center is a Chicago landmark building operated by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is home to free cultural exhibits and programming year-round.

Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Cultural Center
The City is the Site