Lee Harper, founding director of Lee Harper & Dancers, has enjoyed a lengthy career as full of turns, leaps, and joyful expressions as one of her dances. Over more than three decades, she has inspired and taught thousands of children, choreographed productions for some of the premier arts organizations in the Southeast, directed her talented group of professional dancers and dazzled audiences with her one-woman shows.
Miss Harper is a native of Hickory, North Carolina. She attended the Juilliard School of Music and graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance. She performed professionally with the Pearl Lang Dance Company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Allnations Dance Company, all of New York City, and the Atlanta Contemporary Dance Company.
An opportunity to choreograph Leonard Bernstein's MASS for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra brought Miss Harper to Atlanta in 1975 and began her long association with the organization. Since then, she has choreographed and performed for the Orchestra's annual family concert series as well as for their many educational programs.
In 1980, she founded her school and dance company, Lee Harper & Dancers, where she has choreographed over 30 works for her professional company. She is the recipient of two choreography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mayor's Fellowship in the Arts for Choreography. In 2002, Public Broadcasting System (PBS) of Atlanta named her Lexus Leader of the Arts. In 2007 she choreographed the Atlanta Opera's TURANDOT for the grand opening of Atlanta's newest arts center, the Cobb Energy Center. She performed with her company with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival and the Madison Chamber Music Festival in 2008.
Miss Harper served on the faculty of the Northside School of the Arts for four years and was artist-in-residence at Woodward Academy for 20 years. Since 2013, she has been artist-in-residence at The Westminster Schools. She is married to attorney and arts leader Wayne Vason. They have two children, Katie & Fin.
Check out Lee Harper’s childhood home in Hickory, NC. which is now the Harper House / Hickory History Center.