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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 The Gray Veil

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 The Gray Veil, 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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Cambridge, United States


Established in 2013, WOJR is a five-person organization of designers that works holistically across projects and research to practice architecture as a form of cultural production. Our work extends across the globe and engages the realms of art, architecture, and urbanism. Geographically located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, WOJR maintains an integral relationship with the local and larger academic communities in various ways: William is an Associate Professor at MIT, where he has taught for a decade, and numerous WOJR team members are affiliated with Harvard GSD and other area universities as instructors and visiting critics. WOJR has lectured and led design workshops at various academic institutions around the country and world, including recently being included in the Porto Academy in Portugal. In recent years, WOJR has received growing recognition, which has resulted in commissioned projects that span the United States, from New York to California, and extend abroad to works such as a full-scale pavilion for the 17th International Biennale Architettura in Venice, Italy. Working globally, WOJR has become accustomed to the rewards involved in working with skilled and passionate collaborators from different parts of the world to create projects that are unique and responsive to their varied budgetary, cultural, and geographical contexts.


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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