“Ballet is a young art. You have to maintain your ability. If you slip, everybody knows.”
Yuan Yuan Tan is the principal dancer of the Ballet of San Francisco. She began to study ballet in the Shanghai Dance School at the age of 11 years. At first, her father opposed this because he her to become a doctor. Her mother, however, was her great support. Her fate was decided by a coin tossing -the coin fell on its heads side and Yuan Yuan began her career in ballet.
She won several international awards at an early age, including a gold medal, the Nijinsky Prize in the First Japan International Ballet and Modern Dance Competition in 1993 and a Gold Medal at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Paris in 1992.
At 18, she became a solo ballerina of the San Francisco Ballet Company. Two years later, at age 20, she was promoted to principal dancer, reaching the highest position for a ballet dancer, an unusually fast upward path. Today, her name is synonym of excellence for the company, while the San Francisco Ballet Company is considered one of the best in the world.
Yuan Yuan has danced major female roles of Helgi Tomasson’s Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote, Morris’ Sylvia, and Lubovitch’s Othello. Yuan Tan has also appeared in the Chinese versions of Vogue, Esquire and Tatler.
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