Last year, Wang Yun won the Gloria Grand Prix at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. She was 23 years old and showed tremendous potential.
A few months later in September, she made her debut in Germany, dancing the main role of Nikiya in “La Badayere” (“The Temple Dancer”) in the Bavarian State Ballet’s opening season. She was invited by Ivan Liska, the ballet’s artistic director, as a guest dancer, along with superstar Svetlana Zakharova, the principal of the Bolshoi Ballet.
Liska had seen Wang’s performance in Helskinki and remembered her. After she returned to China, he invited her to dance “La Bayadere.”
Not many Asian dancers are invited to dance in Europe and she had not danced the part. She explained that she didn’t know the part and it was hard to learn in a short time. “He said that was okay and sent me DVDs so I could watch and learn,” Wang said.
She only had two weeks in Germany before the performance, though rehearsing a complete ballet usually takes at least a month. “I was under a lot of pressure,” she said.
Born in Dalian, Wang entered Liaoning Ballet School in 1999 and graduated in 2005. She joined Liaoning Ballet. In 2011, she and Jiao Yang, another dancer from that company, joined Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet as principal dancers.
“We were lucky, when you go abroad you usually start from the beginning, but we were offered principal positions,” she said.
Wang had planned to stay a year but returned early because a dancer at Liaoning Ballet was injured.
Nevertheless, she experienced the difference between Chinese and overseas companies.
“The Canadian ballet was very precise about work and gave us the schedule for the whole year in advance so we could plan our lives,” she explained. “We weren’t used to that because in China there are usually emergencies that disrupt schedules and require you to fly over to fill in the vacancy right away.”