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Kevin Shee ’11

Senior Portrait: Kevin Shee '11
Margot Leger and Xi Yu

The story of Kevin Shee’s ’11 artistic trajectory as one of the most prominent, respected, and genuinely well-liked members of the Harvard dance community began like that of many others. Shee, who began training in dance at the age of five, was by his teens well-versed in jazz, tap, ballet, and lyrical dance. He had planned on quitting dance as a pre-frosh but soon discovered that the college offered of an impressive number of classes, performing groups, guest choreographers, and other resources for the serious dancer. Shee decided to continue with the art and never looked back. His colleagues and mentors attest that since his very first semester, he has stood out not only as one of the most versatile and technically accomplished of the College’s male dancers. Yet Shee has also been one of the most artistically open—and has come to play a truly special role in the Harvard dance community at large.

Throughout his career at Harvard, Shee has held principal roles in such varied pieces as Jaime Blanc’s “The Rite of Spring,” Twyla Tharp’s “Sinatra Suite,” and numerous student-choreographed ballet and jazz pieces. Along with these roles with the Harvard Ballet Company (HBC), Shee is also a member of the Harvard Asian American Dance Troupe (AADT) and the Harvard Breakers. As his fellow dancers note, Shee’s talents as a dancer are as versatile as these performing groups are distinct. As Marin J. Orlosky-Randow ’07-’08 said, “When Kevin came to Harvard he was already physically gifted, which he’s maintained over the years and everyone can see. He’s also grown artistically; I think he’s become a more thoughtful performer, and I’ve seen him become more introspective." Ricky D. Kuperman ’11, a student choreographer who has worked directly with Shee, also attests that while his exceptional physical abilities are certainly not to be ignored, his talents go beyond technique. “He’s exactly the kind of dancer any choreographer wants to work with. He is incredibly open to trying difficult or new movements, and willing to take serious artistic risks.”

Due to his remarkable repertoire, Shee holds a special place in Harvard’s dance scene. Virtually the only dancer seriously involved in different groups as the AADT and HBC, he has become an integral part of campus dance organizations that, according to him, don’t often have much contact. Nonetheless, he seems to have been able to collaborate with all groups with ease and values each particular club for its specific merits. As Shee says, “I grew up doing all different styles, and that prior experience lets me do all these different things on campus. I’ve really enjoyed working with HBC, which is much more technically focused, as well as the AADT, which has a really different mentality and a great sense of community, but attracts a very different crowd.” The students who break this boundary are few, he says.

A Molecular and Cellular Biology concentrator, Shee has plans to work in cancer research at the Broad Institute in Cambridge upon graduation. It seems that even there he will be able to bring his characteristic versatility and artistic abilities to the realm of scientific investigation. “There is actually a lot of crossover between the research I’ll be doing and my work as a dancer. I find that both are in their own way modes of creativity and innovation—ways of exploring new possibilities—a theme that seems to come out in everything I want to do.” Shee also says he plans on continuing to take dance classes at the Harvard Dance Center and in Boston, and possibly even perform as a guest artist with Harvard dance groups in the future. “Dance at Harvard holds a special place in my life, and I am looking forward to seeing it grow even after I graduate ... the program has really drawn out my love and passion for dance—it defines me.” Indeed, though dance is integral to Shee’s identity, his superb versatility and artistic style remain adaptable.

—Staff Writer Paula I. Ibieta can be reached at  paula.ibieta@college.harvard.edu.

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