Veteran Chinese dance choreographer Yan Choong Lian, 60, was praised by the Prime Minister for being a "pathbreaker".
Her innovative dance pieces introduced elements from other cultures into traditional Chinese dance.
Her works were one of two examples Mr Lee cited to illustrate Singapore's unique "Nanyang"-style Chinese culture.
The other was the Singapore Chinese Orchestra's multi-cultural performances.
The new Singapore Chinese Culture Centre will promote these various aspects of Chinese culture.
Madam Yan, 60, told The Straits Times that although she has considered retiring, she has pressed on to build Singapore's culture.
"Culture isn't created overnight - it's built layer by layer," she said in Mandarin.
"I am glad for the opportunity to spread my dream, but I am also eager to let the next generation add their own touches to 'Singapore culture'."
This article was published on Aug 18 in The Straits Times.
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