I am a fan of Yuan Yuan Tan, a Shanghai-born principal dancer of San Francisco Ballet. In the past few years, I have seen her blossom as a star ballerina and reach her peak as one of the top ballet dancers in the world.
This year, the classical ballet Swan Lake returns to the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco with a renewed beauty. Yuan Yuan Tan, performing the duel role of White and Black Swan, dazzled the audience with her beautiful dancing and flawless flux of movements. Choreographed by Helgi Tomasson to the original Tchaikovsky score, Yuan Yuan’s charm added a glorious significance to this legendary romantic love story.
Sitting in the audience, I couldn’t help feeling proud of her. I understand what it is like for her to realize her dream and become a world’s top ballerina and the most acclaimed dancer ever to emerge from China.
It all started when Yuan Yuan was five years old – she saw a performance of Swan Lake on TV and that was it! The seed planted in a child’s heart grew into an ultimate passion for dance. Since then, Yuan Yuan has danced to live and lived to dance. The journey took her from Shanghai to Paris and finally to San Francisco, until she reached ballet’s highest rank – the principal dancer of a world-class ballet company.
Now in her prime, Yuan Yuan danced at the White House for President Bill Clinton and Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. She also presented a key to the city when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited San Francisco. Her achievement has brought great joy and glory to her family as well as her country.
Today, that five-year old ugly duckling has become a beautiful swan queen. I hope Yuan Yuan Tan continues to shine as the most brilliant star ballerina in the world!