CHAMPIONING
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Wed, February 7, 2024
6:00 PM
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New York Public Library
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Works & Process at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division

Spill the Tea with George Lee, Ten Times Better, Jennifer Lin’s documentary goes from library stacks to screen

RSVPs Sold Out.

In November 2022, while researching at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts for her documentary project Beyond Yellowface, filmmaker Jennifer Lin came across images of a young Asian dancer performing the character Tea in the 1954 premiere of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. With the help of Arlene Yu, former collection manager of Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Lin was able to track down in Las Vegas the dancer George Lee and connect with this School of American Ballet alum.

A refugee from Shanghai who immigrated to New York in 1951, Lee became a scholarship student at SAB and, as one of the first Asian SAB students, was selected by Balanchine to originate the role of Tea. He went on to perform on Broadway, dancing in the original cast of Flower Drum Song.

A year after this journey started for Lin, she has produced and directed the documentary Ten Times Better, which will have its premiere at the Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center.

For the documentary’s premiere, Lee will leave behind his full-time job as a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas and, coinciding around his 89th birthday, return to New York to share his story as part of the Library for the Performing Arts’ Dance Oral History Project. With Lee, Lin and Yu will participate in a discussion moderated by Cory Stieg, one of the film’s producers, which will include film excerpts and archival material from the Jerome Robbins Dance Collection to illustrate how this forgotten story went from library stacks to screen.

SEATING POLICY | Programs are free and open to all, but registration is requested. Check-in line forms 45 minutes before the advertised start time. Registered guests are given priority check-in 15 to 30 minutes before start time. Five minutes before the advertised start time, all seats are released, regardless of registration, to our patrons in the stand-by line. If you arrive after the program starts, you will be seated at the discretion of our front-of-house staff.

STANDBY LINE | If registration is sold out or has ended, do not fret! We welcome you to come to the Library regardless of registration status and wait in our standby line, which forms 45 minutes before the advertised start time. Five minutes before the program starts, all remaining seats are released. While this is not guaranteed, we will do our best to get you into any of our programs.

ASSISTIVE LISTENING AND ASL | ASL interpretation and real-time (CART) captioning available upon request. Please submit your request at least two weeks in advance by emailing accessibility@nypl.org.

BRUNO WALTER POLICY | Please note that any unoccupied seat will be released five minutes before the show begins and holding seats for anyone beyond that is prohibited. There is no food or drink allowed inside the venue.

AUDIO/VIDEO RECORDING | Programs may be photographed and recorded by and at the discretion of the Library for the Performing Arts and will post signs indicating as such. If you would prefer your image not be captured, please let us know and we can seat you accordingly. Attending any program indicates your consent to being filmed/photographed and your consent to the use of your recorded image for any and all purposes of the New York Public Library.

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