Yuanyuan Tan: ‘On the rocky road of chasing dreams, you have to be mentally strong’
By CGTN's World Insight
Yuan Yuan Tan, one of the most accomplished and critically acclaimed dancers of her generation, is the prima ballerina of the San Francisco Ballet where she holds the rank of principle dancer.
Widely regarded as the greatest Chinese ballerina of all time, she was called a “national treasure” by the China Daily newspaper.
Speaking to CGTN’s World Insight, Tan recalled her struggles in her early years.
“When I first joined the company, I was the youngest solo of the San Francisco Ballet Company’s history. I was 17 and a half, and I got promoted when I was 19 and became the youngest Chinese ballerina ever in the history of ballet, the youngest principal dancer. So that load of jealousy is amazing. I was there, without speaking any English, and I had to face that, so at the beginning, I was very upset. I was like why they treat me like this, and then I realize this is the real world,” she said.
At that time, Tan’s parents were still living in Shanghai and she had to face all difficulties alone.
“My mum told me to do the best that you can, and then everything else will be solved. So I did what she said, it works, so I just like really home and studio and stage and then back home. And then that’s my routine, that’s for 5 years.”
Yuan Yuan Tan as a young girl /CGTN Scan

Yuan Yuan Tan as a young girl /CGTN Scan

Tan said she didn’t have a lot of friends, especially in the company but she tried her best to seize every opportunity until finally others began to recognize her talent.
“And I think now all the young dancers want to become a star. It will take time. But on this very rocky road, you have to be mentally strong,” she warned.
World Insight With Tian Wei is a 45-minutes global affairs and debate show on CGTN. It airs weekdays at 10:15 p.m. BJT(1415GMT) with rebroadcasts at 4:15 a.m. BJT(20:15GMT).