You are here

Lisa Reed

Ballet

Lisa Machen Reed was born and raised on a potato farm in Roberts, Idaho. As a small child, she dreamed of becoming a professional dancer, and travelling the world.

At the age of fourteen, the family farm went bankrupt. Lisa was forced to quit ballet, and she thought her life was over! However, taught by the determination of her mother that “with God, all things are possible” …she began teaching herself at home. After months of scrubbing floors, and creating her own home ballet routine, Lisa was able to return to lessons by paying for them herself. After her teachers, John and Janice Nelson, saw to their disbelief and amazement that she had improved by leaps and bounds, Lisa was awarded a full scholarship to their school.

At the age of sixteen, Lisa began studying on full scholarship at the University of Utah’s Ballet Department as well as Ballet West Conservatory. While still attending high school part-time, Lisa trained under the direction of William F. Christensen, Bené Arnold, and Attila Ficzere. Lisa received full scholarships to: the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City; (the only scholarship awarded that summer), Summerdance with James Canfield of Oregon Ballet Theater, the Montana Ballet Company; dancing a principal role with Afshin Mofid. She trained at that time with Jiang Qi, a principal dancer from the Central Ballet of China, who would eventually open the doors that would change her life forever.

After dancing principal and soloist roles while touring and performing with the University of Utah’s Utah Ballet Company, Lisa graduated with a B.F.A. in Ballet Performance. Her favorite role she danced there was The Firebird. Upon completion of her studies, Lisa was offered the chance of a lifetime: to become China’s first-ever American dancer contract. Jiang Qi, in collaboration with the Chinese government, found Lisa a place with the Guangzhou Ballet Company, in Guangzhou China.

A month later, Lisa took a leap of faith, and travelled to a part of the world that she had only dreamed of-CHINA! Lisa soon realized that she would have to learn Chinese in order to break down the barriers that existed between her and the Chinese people. Lisa was led to a teacher who helped her to grasp the basic tones and sounds of the Mandarin-Chinese language. Eventually, after losing face numerous times, and experiencing countless embarrassing moments, Lisa not only saw the walls break down between her and the other dancers, but found that acquiring the Chinese language paved the way for her solo journey to the Great Wall in Beijing.

Touring and performing in excess of one hundred performances throughout China and in the United States, Lisa’s most memorable moment dancing with the Guangzhou Ballet was actually when Lisa was not cast in a new ballet, The Yellow River. Because this was a national and well-known traditional piece of music, associated with Chinese national identity, and she was not Chinese; foreigners were not typically cast. Lisa, however, was not to be thwarted. She learned every part, and attended every rehearsal. Two days before opening night, a soloist dancer in the company twisted her ankle, and moments later, Lisa was called upon to fill her spot! Bathed in red light, and hearing thunderous applause fill the auditorium as a large communist flag fell as the backdrop, Lisa felt honor and gratitude fill her heart for having been given the privilege of being born in America. For after a year and a half dancing with the Chinese, she realized that had she been born in China, she never would have been able to accomplish what she had as a dancer, nor would she have been able to make the difficult choice to leave China.

Upon returning to the United States, Lisa was offered a contract to dance with the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Belgium. Through mighty prayer, Lisa felt it was time to hang up her toe shoes, and discover a new passion: Mandarin-Chinese. Becoming Miss Idaho Falls, ID, Lisa began sharing her love of Chinese with the community. She soon returned to the University of Utah, to receive her B.S. degree in Mandarin-Chinese, and became a pioneer for teaching Mandarin-Chinese in the public schools. Lisa began igniting the fire in the next generation of America’s youth as she created Chinese programs and taught at both Kaysville and Farmington Junior High. In 2006, and six months pregnant with her first child, Lisa led a group twenty students and parents on a two-week tour of places they had studied and learned about in China. She is incredibly proud as she hears of the countless students whose lives have gone on to serve Mandarin-speaking LDS missions, are studying abroad in China, or teaching English as well.

She has worked for the State of Utah’s Governor’s Office in Foreign Relations as a translator and interpreter, Samsung’s Utah Olympic Games in 2002, and as a liaison for Utah China-Harvard Business Group. She has been fortunate to host numerous foreign dignitaries and delegations from Taiwan and China. Lisa continues to share her love of the Chinese language and culture throughout the community.

She comes from a family of six children, a foster sister, and step-brother. She was very fortunate to have been raised by parents who taught her the value of hard work, and faith in the Lord.

She is the mother of two children, Kate and Jane, who are the angels of her life. She and her husband Bruce reside in Bountiful. Lisa recognizes the hand of God as the source of her strength, and also wants to thank all the parents who provide her the opportunity to teach their wonderful children. ..Xie Xie!

Contact Us

9119 S Monroe Plaza Way
Sandy, UT 84070
Just off I-15
Next to Classic Fun Center
Phone: 801.566.6222

Director: Melanie Pike
Phone: 801.884.7464
Email: melanie@emotiondance.com