855 Pairs of Ballet Shoes

April 1, 2008
Editor: yf

Sometimes, she sews and mends her ballet-shoes by herself. She is skillful enough, as she has worn 855 pairs of ballet-shoes!

The young woman, Zhu Yan, known as the "ballet queen" in China, is a state first-class actress and has won many prizes both at home and abroad. She has danced in leading roles in many full-length ballets including Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Raise the Red Lantern.

After graduating from the Beijing Academy of Choreographic Art in 1996, Zhu joined the National Ballet of China. In 1998, she took part in an international dance competition in Paris. In 1999, she was invited to star in The Fairy at the Sweden Royal Ballet Academy. And in 2000, she was invited to attend an art festival in America.

Notable Achievements through Hard Work

A short time after entering the National Ballet of China, Zhu received two opportunities to dancing leading roles, but her ankles gave way during training, possibly because of her excitement or nervousness. Thus she had to stay in hospital while others went to America.

During the rehearsals of Carmen, Zhu came across challenges because of the conflicts between Chinese and Western civilizations. Carmen was an ebullient and enthusiastic character so that Zhu was encouraged to perform very crazily and forceful. Because of her unexcitable character and her traditional concepts, it was a torture for her at first. She felt bewildered by the requirements of the foreign director and even lost her confidence. However, she finally abandoned the restraint and became more mature and confident.

Eight years later, Zhu became a leading performer in the National Ballet Company of China. Becouse of her diligence and hard work, she has worn 855 pairs of ballet shoes. She won the Gold Prize and Special Prize for Artistic Performance of Bulgarian First Lady at the 18th Varna International Ballet Competition.

Zhu Yan  [china.com.cn ]

Happiness with Pressure

Zhu is always happy because she can dance and show her inner personality when she performs, but she feels a little pressure when she is off the stage. "I have felt that ballet is extremely important to me in my life, but now it seems to be a burden for me as it also brings me much pressure," she said.

She always has a good attitude about life and she thinks that the most important thing is to keep healthy. On the basis of that, she thinks that it is necessary to lead a meaningful life and it is important to do what she wants. "It’s a favor that I can dance throughout my life," Zhu said, and she finds that through dancing, she can deliver her happiness to more people.

Now, she always has a feeling of expectance before she performs, which urges her to rush out and dance at the stage.

Beginning from a "Stupid Girl"

Ballet is a challenge for human beings and numerous performers have experienced a painful course.

Zhu feels very lucky that her toenails never broke off in training when she was a child. In fact, her talent was from her hard training and "stupidity". She considered herself as a "stupid girl" because in training classes everyone was required to sweat, and all children achieved the goal except for her. She was a little sad after being punished by the teacher. But she would always feel happy when she recalled the days. She never thought of giving it up although she came across many difficulties in training.

(Source: china.com.cn / Translated by womenofchina.cn)

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