Film: "The Ghost Writer" A Celebration of Keith Lee's Career in Dance and Choreography through personal story

The film “The Ghost Writer,” sponsored by the Lenfest Center for the Arts and the Department of Art and Art History and presented by Keith Lee Dances Inc., will be shown at the Stackhouse Theater on Wednesday, May 8 at 5 p.m. No tickets are required. 


The Ghost Writer celebrates Keith Lee’s half century of dance history not through career but through personal story. Throughout his 50 years in dance, Lee says he has been something of a ghost writer for others. He says he only started to see himself as a ghost writer of dance in 2016, but this concept has been the driving force behind this newest film project.  

The first part of Ghost Writer features pieces Lee choreographed throughout his career, including those performed by the Capitol Ballet of Washington, D.C., the Lexington Ballet, and Dance Theatre of Lynchburg, the company Lee founded in 1999.

The second part of Ghost Writer—what Lee has named “The North and South Invitational”—is a new impressionistic dance that uses comedic parodies to explore the political and social dealings of people in the different regions, he says. The film also incorporates original poetry Lee has written. The poems, he says, serve as a kind of narration that brings the two halves of the film together.More than anything, Lee says he feels the film is a fitting representation of the art form to which he has dedicated his life.


Lee began studying song and dance as a young child at The Little Theatre in Brooklyn. While later performing in “The King and I” at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, he was noticed by Ben Vereen and was encouraged to pursue formal training at the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. As a dance prodigy Lee has been composing dances since 1968. While attending the High School of Performing Arts, Lee also studied at Harkness House for Ballet Arts. Upon graduation in 1968, he joined American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and was promoted to the rank of soloist the following year. His repertory included the choreography of such luminaries as Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Agnes DeMille, Lar Lubovitch, Jerome Robbins, and Antony Tudor.

For over a decade Lee has served as Ballet Master of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Capitol Ballet, and Nanette Bearden’s Contemporary Chamber Dance Company.  He has taught classes in American Ballet and Modern Dance in independent studios, dance conservatories, and college and university dance departments throughout North America and is certified to teach all levels of American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum.