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Founder / Executive Director


"I am very excited to announce the 8th annual KoreaFest 2025 on March 29, 2025.  Thank you for your continued support."

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Heoak Lee was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States at the young age of nine. While moving away from her friends, school, and extended family, she only had her culture to hold onto. Heoak started taking traditional Korean dance lessons at six years old and it became her life's passion. When she first arrived in the states, she was the only Korean-American in her class, Heoak was surrounded by uncertainty and longed for comfort in the form of familiarity.
After a few years, Heoak was able to continue her dance lessons with a Korean dance company in Northern Virginia. Ever since then, she has honed her skills and even formed her own traditional Korean dance group called 'Imperial Jewel.' Heoak has lived in Raleigh, North Carolina since 1989 and her first involvement in the community was participating at The International Festival of Raleigh. She has represented Korea on the main stage, young people’s matinee, sidewalk cafe, cultural booth and as the Korean ethnic chairperson. She has publicly been involved in spreading Korean culture through The International Festival for 31 years and spreading traditional dance through 'Imperial Jewel' 24 years. She's choreographed and taught all the dances in English, mostly to non Koreans who shared the love for Korean dance.
Her deep rooted passion for sharing Korean culture gave birth to the idea of hosting KoreaFest.  After 36 years of representing the Korean community, she has learned to overcome many obstacles and obstructions. She has established herself as the face of the Korean community in the greater Raleigh area and has put Raleigh, NC on the K-Wave map with NC KoreaFest being dubbed ‘K-Con of the South’.




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