World-renowned dancer Dassy Lee got her start at the age of twelve when she started dancing in her school program in high school. Growing up in South Korea, she explored popping, locking, hip hop, waacking and house. At the age of twenty-one, she moved to New York to perform and broaden her training. She was the first Korean dancer featured in So You Think You Can Dance, finishing in the top 8 in 2017.

This month, she’s a judge at Hit The Floor, Toronto’s largest multi-style dance competition, coming to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s John Bassett Theatre from April 25 to 28.

We caught up with her this week.

SDTC: When and where do you feel most content?

DL: When I listen to my favourite songs and am surrounded by loving people.

Who/what has had the greatest influence on your dance career?

My mother. She taught me to be strong, independent and a hard worker, and my mom is my forever hero! Other than that, there are tons of dancers who’ve inspired me throughout the whole dance journey.

All-time fave song to dance to?

This is a hard question. I love all kinds of songs: R&B, funk, hip hop etc.

In your opinion, who is the best dancer of all time, and why?

I love Skeeter Rabbit and Popin Pete from Electric Boogaloos. They were the first inspiration that made me fall in love with popping.

What food/dish always satisfies you?

Korean Fooooood!!! Forever!

What film/show has recently wowed you?

Recently I was wowed by Life of Pi. Yes, It’s not a recent movie, but this movie gives me so many thoughts every time I watch it, and the cinematography is so beautiful.

What’s on your current reading list?

I am very into real estate and business right now! I have been reading lots of articles and books about it.

What Toronto spaces/places do you truly love?

I have only been to Toronto once, and hopefully I will get some time for sightseeing, not just working!

What exhibit/museum are you dying to see?

The Louvre. I have been there, but I am dying to go again.

What five things would you want if you were deserted on an island?

Water, music (anything that I can play), sunscreen lol, a lighter, and books.

What’s a childhood memory that always brings a smile to your face?

I was so into dancing that I used to live in the studio and mostly sleep in the class at school. 

What life philosophy is currently helping to guide your journey?

“Do what you love to do.”

One skill you’d love to improve this year?

Definitely dance (always), flexibility and strength.

What’s a piece of career advice that has served you well?

Never give up, and work hard to make it happen. Acting rather than talking.

What outfit makes you feel the most you?

Anything that I can move well with.

What’s a subject that is currently holding your attention?

I want to be a better dancer and human being, and that doesn’t happen overnight. I am just focusing on living the moment full-out. 

When you compare yourself now to where you were at ten years ago, what’s a major change you can identify?

Everything. The life I have right now. I achieved my goals already, from moving to America and becoming a professional dancer, to supporting my mom in Korea, to my own financial situation. I am very proud that I never gave up, and I followed my heart.

Goal(s) for 2019?

I want to create more art and get better at choreography and artistic directing. I want to keep learning these things as well as working on my dancing skills. I also want to spread the love of dancing around the world.