Introduction by Jennifer Lin and George Lee

Ten Times Better
Jennifer Lin, USA, 2023, 30m
World Premiere

George Lee is an 88-year-old blackjack dealer who still works five days a week, a beloved figure in the pit of a downtown Las Vegas casino. None of the card players—and few of his coworkers—know of this humble man’s astonishing background: a child dance prodigy and refugee from Shanghai who became a teenage sensation in the original staging of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker exactly 70 years ago, performing the “Tea” divertissement. George’s story is uniquely American: an immigrant striving to prove himself as an Asian pioneer in ballet and on Broadway, where he was cast by Gene Kelly for the original production of Flower Drum Song. The film is a tale of talent and perseverance in the face of hardship, and a reminder of the extraordinary stories behind the nameless faces all around us.

Studio Simkin and Matthäus Bussmann, 2023, Germany, 7m
New York Premiere
One depicts the journey of an artist who, in the face of adversity, transcends his reality to arrive at a higher level of consciousness and a deeper understanding of his art. His rebirth in the midst of struggle is an allegory of the pandemic. Renowned choreographer David Dawson and Daniil Simkin, one of the world’s foremost classical ballet dancers, create an emotional journey that mirrors the struggle of artists to create art in the context of flux.

Then or Now
Roswitha Chesher and Will Tuckett2022, U.K., 35m
U.S. Premiere
We are living through times where every action we take, whether responding to a call to arms or deciding to remain passive, has become a political act. Small or large, personal or public, our actions seem to hold more weight than before. Creating work for Ballet Black in this climate felt very different to previous collaborations—still exciting, but with great responsibility. Whose story should the dancers be telling in a time of such political and social change?