By Oliver Blanco
Former Los Angeles Laker and Rams cheerleader Annie Yee is currently teaching Chinese Dance at East Los Angeles College.
Yee was born and raised in Monterey Park and dedicated her life to the art of dance and theater. At an early age, Yee’s mother, Nancy Yee exposed her to many types of dance: ballet, Chinese, tap, jazz and hula. Yee’s Chinese dance teacher, Cheng Pei Pei, was the first swords woman of Hong Kong action film.
Yee toured with Pei Pei in Hong Kong during her youth and performed for a television broadcast known as TVB in Hong Kong. TVB was the first wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong. After training with Pei Pei during her youth, Yee attended Alhambra High School.
She participated in the drill team, became a song leader and was a member of the Orchesis dance team during her senior year. After graduating from high school, Yee attended California State University, Los Angeles, where she studied theater. While attending CSULA, she became a song leader and joined the school’s dance company where she was announced dancer of the year.
After graduating from CSULA, Yee won several dance scholarships. She joined the Professional Dancers Society where she was trained by Joe Tremaine, Karon Brown and Paul De Rolf. Yee won a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. Only one male and female were allowed to receive the scholarship out of many competitors.
Yee was granted the opportunity to train with professionals. “Dancing in New York was one of my happiest moments of my life,” Yee said.
After being in New York, Yee got a job as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Rams. She then became a Los Angeles Laker Girl for three years where she danced with Paula Abdul. Yee was given an award from the Chinese Historical Society for being the first Chinese-American to cheer for the Rams and the Lakers. During this time, she danced for the Los Angeles Kings and the Lakers.
Yee continued exploring after taking part in National Sports. She studied at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the National Shakespeare School in Washington D.C. Yee has performed at several regional theaters across the U.S. such as the Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center, the Public Theater in New York City, the South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Indiana Repertory and Seattle Repertory.
One of her favorite roles was performing Eliza, in the ballet the “King and I.” Yee studied circus arts in Hollywood Aerial Arts, with her specialty being Tissu. Tissu is an aerialist that climbs a ribbon like fabric that hangs from the ceiling. The aerialist ties knots, does drops and tricks. She has performed at the Electric Daisy Carnival and many private events. “I love the circus,” Yee said. “It helped me overcome my fear of heights.”
When Yee was 5 years old, her mother took her to the Music Center to see the musical “No, No, Nanette.” This is when Yee fell in love with live performance. Yee is grateful to her mother for exposing her to the arts by taking her to several theater and dance performances during her youth. Recently, Yee was granted a job teaching Chinese Dance at East Los Angeles College.
Yee started at ELAC during Spring 2011. She took part in the “Visions of Dance” performance. Her goal at ELAC is to educate students in the art of Chinese cultural movement. Yee said that she is so grateful to be working with the Dance Disciple Staff and the Women’s Physical Education Department.
Yee will be presenting a Chinese Ribbon Dance in the Spring Dance Performance 2012. In Fall 2012, she will be teaching hula on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:15 to 6:40 p.m. in S2 106. Yee welcomes all levels of dancers. “Everyone is welcome to participate.”