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Doylestown’s Lin tells story of refugee-turned ballet prodigy


Doylestown filmmaker — and Bucks County Herald Foundation Board member — Jennifer Lin will premiere her latest documentary Ten Times Better Feb. 10 at the Film at Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera Festival in New York.

The 30-minute “Ten Times Better” tells the story of George Lee, an 88-year-old blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, who originated the Tea role in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and danced in the original cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drug Song.

“George was an 18-year-old refugee from Shanghai, who had been in the United States only for three years, when he was cast by Balanchine in The Nutcracker,” Lin explained in a statement. “He got rave reviews but he never danced again for the NYC Ballet. I needed to find out more about this dancer. When he shared with me his story, I knew immediately that this was an extraordinary tale of perseverance and resilience that should be shared.”

Coupled with the premiere will be a discussion about the making of the film, a conversation with Lin, Lee, Arlene Yu, the former collection manager of the New York Public Library’s Jerome Robbin’s dance division, and Cory Stieg, a New York-based producer of Ten Times Better, who is also from Doylestown.

“We hope Ten Times Better secures George Lee’s rightful place in dance history and American culture,” says another producer, Jon Funabiki. “His experience will resonate with many other Asian and Pacific Islander artists who were passed over or forgotten despite their unquestioned talent and grit.”

Tickets for the screening can be purchased at the Film at Lincoln Center website.

Ten Times Better is a presentation of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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