George Lee’s creaky 88-year-old body disguises an astonishing past as a breakthrough figure in ballet—the first Asian to dance for the New York City Ballet, tapped by George Balanchine for his original production of The Nutcracker.

Exhorted by his mother to be “ten times better” than the others in the all-white world of dance, he was denied a career in ballet. But he persevered to dance on Broadway for Gene Kelly and in countless productions across his adopted homeland, then landing in Las Vegas for a second career as a blackjack dealer, happy and humble.

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