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Works & Process at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Jerome Robbins Dance Division Presents Spill the Tea with George Lee

February 7 @ 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Works & Process at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, working with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, presents Spill the Tea with George Lee, highlighting the making of Ten Times Better, a documentary from filmmaker Jennifer Lin, featuring a discussion, film excerpts and archival material from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division collection. This special event is offered for free; reservations are encouraged and can be made here.

Spill the Tea with George Lee

Ten Times Better, Jennifer Lin’s documentary goes from library stacks to screen

Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 6pm

The Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center

Bruno Walter Auditorium

Tickets are free

In November 2022, while researching at the Library for the Performing Arts for her documentary project Beyond Yellowface, filmmaker Jennifer Lin came across images of a young Asian dancer performing the role of Tea in the 1954 premiere of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. With the help of Arlene Yu, then–collection manager of Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Lin was able to track down the dancer, School of American Ballet (SAB) alum George Lee, in Las Vegas. A refugee from Shanghai who immigrated to New York in 1951, Lee was a scholarship student at SAB and one of its first Asian students. He was selected by Balanchine to create and premiere the role of Tea, and later went on to perform on Broadway, dancing in the original cast of Flower Drum Song.

A year after Lin learned about Lee and began this journey, the filmmaker has produced and directed the documentary Ten Times Better, which will have its premiere at the Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center on February 10. For this event and the film premiere, Lee will leave behind his fulltime job as a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas and for his 89th birthday, return to New York to share his story as part of the New York Public Library’s Dance Oral History Project. Lee, Lin and Yu will participate in a discussion moderated by Cory Stieg, which will include film excerpts and archival material from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division archive to illustrate how this forgotten story went from library stacks to screen.


Bruno Walter Auditorium, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza (entrance at 111 Amsterdam between 64th and 65th), New York, NY 10023


An independent process-focused non-profit performing arts organization, Works & Process champions creative process from studio to stage and illuminates the artistic process of creators from the world’s largest organizations and simultaneously champions artists representing historically underrecognized performing arts cultures by providing rare longitudinal and fully funded creative residency, commissioning, and presenting support.

Works & Process provides audiences with unprecedented access to creative process with programs that blend artist discussions and performance highlights, with the goal of fostering greater understanding and appreciation and broadening representation.

This season, Works & Process celebrates New York artists, street and social dance, and—after four decades at the Guggenheim—expands beyond the museum to also present at Lincoln Center and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division. Our ongoing LaunchPAD “Process as Destination” residency program knits together a constellation of 12 residency centers across New York State to support creative process.

“An exceptional opportunity to understand something of the creative process” —The New York Times


February 7
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM


The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
111 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10023 United States
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