Shellee Frazee

Artist/Choreographer Member, Chicago, IL

1. What inspired you to become an artist/choreographer?

I began my dance career as an adult. My biggest inspiration at that time was my very young daughter. Even at the age of four or five, she had an inspirational passion and desire to dance. She is now a professional modern dancer, and she continues to motivate me.
My other inspirations are 1940s musicals. I have a theatre degree and work primarily as a theatrical choreographer and dance educator. Those old movies are a driving force in my creative process.

2. What advice would you give to an aspiring choreographer?

Be true to yourself and trust your instincts. Don’t let opinions direct your process. Respect the history and past legends that have inspired, motivated, and driven dance to evolve to what it has become thus far.

3. Describe a memorable dance performance and why it’s significant to you.

I had the privilege of training my daughter. My most memorable performance is dancing with my daughter the year she graduated from high school. We created a piece together, and it held a great deal of meaning for both of us. It was a very powerful moment, one I will always cherish.

4. Where do you see dance in the future and how do you/the work you do fit within that vision?

I see dance continuing to evolve in new and exciting directions. I see dancers challenging themselves and those around them to create and inspire in new and fascinating ways. I push my students to try new things and to explore new ways of moving, while learning to appreciate what has already been developed and created. I see my students as the future of dance, and I hope to encourage them to be daring and insightful. I plan to continue creating works and always pushing to be outside of the box.

5. What do you hope your dance legacy to be?

I doubt that anyone will remember my name or remember anything that I have done in the dance world.

My legacy will be my students.

For every student I train, I know that I have done my best to instill passion and a love of this beautiful art. I know some of those students will grow to perform, educate, and pass on what I have taught them. So I hope I have given back to that which I love so much. And I hope that because I have tried to inspire and educate my students, they will go forward, create, and inspire, continuing an eternal process that will fire the world of dance.

6. If you could have dinner with anyone (living or dead) from the dance field, who would it be and why?

I would choose to have dinner with Bob Fosse. I love his work and his story has always intrigued me. It would be thrilling to discover his thought process and try to understand how he developed the work he created. I admire and respect what he accomplished in the worlds of dance, theatre, and film. He set the bar high and created a unique and individual style that has as much impact today as it did when it was created.