Yuan Yuan Tan


Yuan Yuan Tan


  • Born

    Shanghai, China

  • Training

    Shanghai Dancing School
    John Cranko School

  • San Francisco Ballet

    Joined as a soloist in 1995
    Promoted to principal dancer in 1997
    Appointed Richard C. Barker Principal Dancer in 2012


helgi Tomasson

7 for Eight (originated)

Beads of Memory

Caprice (originated)

Chi-Lin (originated)

Criss-Cross (Schoenberg-Handel movement principal)

Don Quixote (Kitri)

The Fifth Season (originated)

Giselle (Giselle)

Handel—A Celebration

Nanna’s Lied (Nanna)

Nutcracker (Queen of the Snow, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Grand Pas de Deux)

On a Theme of Paganini

Pandora Dance (originated)


Romeo & Juliet (Juliet)

Silver Ladders (originated) 

The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora, Lilac Fairy, and Enchanted Princess)

Swan Lake (Odette/Odile)

Tuning Game (Pas de trois)

Valses Poeticos


Willam Christensen/helgi Tomasson

Nutcracker (Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen)


julia Adam



Frederick Ashton

Thaïs Pas de Deux


george Balanchine

Agon (Pas de deux)

Apollo (Terpsichore)

Ballo della Regina 

Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet 


Concerto Barocco


Emeralds (Pas de deux)

Prodigal Son (Siren)


Serenade (Waltz couple and Angel)

Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Aria I and II)

Symphony in C

Symphony in Three Movements

Theme and Variations

Scotch Symphony (Sylph)

Western Symphony


Jiri Bubeníček

Gentle Memories 


john Cranko

Onegin (Tatiana)


nacho Duato

Without Words (1st and 2nd pas de deux)


william Forsythe

Pas/Parts 2016 (originated)

Artifact Suite


victor Gsovsky

Grand Pas Classique


james Kudelka

The Ruins Proclaim The Building Was Beautiful (originated)


harald Lander

Etudes (Principal Woman)


edwaard Liang

Finding Light (originated)

The Infinite Ocean (originated)

Letting Go

Symphonic Dances (originated)

Distant Cries (Pas de deux)

Somewhere in Time


Serge Lifar

Suite en Blanc (Pas de deux and Cigarette)

Lar Lubovitch

Othello (Desdemona)
… smile with my heart” (“My Funny Valentine”)


Kenneth MacMillan

Elite Syncopations

Winter Dreams (Masha)


Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa

La Bayadère, Act II (Nikiya and 3rd Solo Shade in “The Kingdom of the Shades”)



Peter Martins

The Waltz Project


Wayne McGregor




Benjamin Millepied

The Chairman Dances—Quartet for Two


Mark Morris

Sylvia (originated the role of Sylvia)


Jules Perrot 

La Esmeralda (Pas de Deux)


John Neumeier

Lady of the Camellias (Black Pas de Deux)

The Little Mermaid (Mermaid)


Rudolf Nureyev 

Raymonda—Act III (Raymonda)


Yuri Possokhov

Damned (originated role of Princess)

Diving into the Lilacs (originated)

Firebird (originated role of Firebird)

Fusion (originated)

Magrittomania (originated)

Optimistic Tragedy (Commissary)

RAkU (originated role of Princess) 

Study in Motion (originated)

“… two united in a single soul…” (originated)

Swimmer (originated role of Aquarium)


Alexei Ratmansky

Russian Seasons (Orange and White)

Chamber Symphony and Piano Concerto #1 in Shostakovich Trilogy


Jerome Robbins

The Cage (Novice)

Dances at a Gathering (Mauve and Pink)


Glass Pieces

In the Night (3rd pas de deux)


LIam Scarlett

Fearful Symmetries (originated)

Hummingbird (originated)


Anthony Tudor

Gala Performance (Italian Ballerina)


Stanton Welch

La Cathédrale Engloutie



Naked (originated)

Taiko (Spirit)

Tu Tu (originated)


Christopher Wheeldon

After the Rain (Pas de deux)

Bound To (originated)

Cinderella (Cinderella)

Continuum (originated)

Ghosts (originated)

Number Nine (originated)

Quaternary (originated)



Renato Zanella



  • Received an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance for her entire 2014–15 SF Ballet season, March 2016.
  • Named one of the world’s most influential Chinese for her contributions to the arts by Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV, April 2015.
  • Received the 2014 Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Female Performance (Classical) for Possokhov’s RAkU, performed in London, England, in 2013. 
  • Received a Dance Magazine Award in New York City, December 2013.
  • Received the Excellence Award from The Committee of 100, an elite organization of distinguished Chinese Americans, April 2010.
  • Honorary chair, along with Jennifer Newsom, of Asian Art Museum’s Shanghai Gala, February 2010. 
  • Named one of 20 people under the age of 40 who were considered heroes from Asia, in a cover story by Asian edition of Time Magazine, October 2004.
  • Gold medal winner of junior female classical division and Nijinsky Award, 1st Japan International Ballet and Modern Dance Competition, January 1993.
  • Gold medal winner of junior female division, 5th International Ballet Competition, Paris, France, December 1992.
  • Silver medal winner of junior female division, 2nd International Ballet Competition, Helsinki, Finland, July 1991.


  • Danced the pas de deux from Liang’s Finding Light and Possokhov’s Bells at Dance Open Gala, St. Petersburg, Russia, April 2017.
  • Danced pas de deux from Petipa’s Swan Lake (Black Swan) and Possokhov’s Bells, Youth America Grand Prix Tribute to Julio Bocca Gala, New York City, April 2017.
  • Danced the grand pas de deux from Nutcracker with Festival Ballet Theatre in Irvine, California, December 2016.
  • Danced pas de deux from Cranko’s Onegin, Petipa’s Swan Lake (White Swan), and Possokhov’s Bells, Yuan Yuan Tan and Friends Gala, Shanghai, China, October 2016. 
  • Performed Balanchine’s Serenade with Hong Kong Ballet, June 2016. 
  • Featured on Hunan TV’s Day Day Up show, July 2016. 
  • Participated in TEDxShanghai, speaking both English and Chinese, May 2016. 
  • Choreographed and performed Carmen solo, Vail International Dance Festival, August 2015.
  • Performed at MEX I AM Ballet and Opera Gala, Palace of Fine Arts Theater, San Francisco, July 2015.
  • Danced Possokhov’s Diving into the Lilacs and Liang’s Distant Cries and Letting Go at the 3rd International Ballet and Choreography Competition Gala, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, China, July 2015. 
  • Danced at TITAS Command Performance Gala, Winspear Opera House, Dallas, Texas, May 2015.
  • Performed at Hong Kong Ballet, Le French May Gala, May 2015.
  • Performed Swan Lake with Tiit Helimets at Festival Ballet Theatre, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine, California, March 2015.
  • Performed with Damian Smith at Hong Kong Ballet, Le French May Gala, May 2014.
  • Performed in “Liang/Maliphant/Wheeldon: An Evening Featuring Yuan Yuan Tan and Fang-Yi Sheu,” Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, England, November 2013.
  • Served as judge for the classical division of the 2nd International Ballet and Choreography Competition and performed at the awards ceremony, Beijing, China, July 2013.
  • Featured in an international GAP ad campaign, 2012.
  • Performed in an international gala, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2012.
  • Performed White Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake in Makarova’s gala, 2012.
  • Performed Black pas de deux from Neumeier’s Lady of the Camellias and the pas de deux from Neumeier’s Mahler’s Fifth Symphony at the 1st International Ballet Competition Gala, Beijing, China, July 2011.
  • Performed Black pas de deux from Neumeier’s Lady of the Camellias at the 37th Nijinsky Gala, Hamburg, Germany, July 2011.
  • Performed at The Hong Kong Ballet’s Galaxy Gala, Hong Kong, May 2011.
  • Performed a solo from Carmen and Bybu at the Arima Ballet Company’s 60th-Anniversary Gala, June 2010.
  • Performed the pas de deux from Wheeldon’s Ghosts at the Galaxy International Ballet Gala, Hong Kong, May 2010.
  • Performed Liang’s Distant Cries, Karlsruhe, Germany, June 2009.
  • Performed at the Galaxy International Ballet Gala, Hong Kong, May 2009.
  • Performed Swan Lake with The Hong Kong Ballet, Shanghai Grand Theater, Shanghai, China, January 2009.
  • Performed Giselle, Shanghai Grand Theater, Shanghai, China, November 2009.
  • Featured in the role of Queen of the Snow in the PBS Great Performances broadcast of Tomasson’s Nutcracker, December 2008.
  • Featured speaker at USF Center for the Pacific Rim “Dancing on the Rim: Shanghai to San Francisco,” December 2006.
  • Performed at Hen Lung Charity Show, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Shanghai, China, October 2006.
  • Performed Pas de Deux from Romeo & Juliet with David Arce as part of the award-winning gala performance, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Shanghai, China.
  • Performed at the award ceremony for the 3rd annual Shanghai International Ballet Competition, June 2004. 
  • Performed Act 2 of Giselle and Grand Pas Classique at Gala for Stars from San Francisco, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 2003.
  • Performed White Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake and Seasons of Life, Osaka, Japan, June 2003.
  • Headlined in “Yuan Yuan Tan and Eight Ballet Stars Gala” performing the Rose Adagio from The Sleeping Beauty, Magrittomania, Dying Swan, and Black Swan from Swan Lake, Nara, Japan, May 2003.
  • Competed in World Ballet Star Gala in Korea, performing La Esmeralda Pas de Deux with Roman Rykine, and the White Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake with Paris Opera Ballet Étoile Jose Martinez, July 2002.
  • Performed Pas de Deux from Swan Lake, Act 2, and solo from Carmen, choreographed by C. Choong Wanqin for a children’s charity in Malaysia, summer 2002.
  • Performed with Yuri Possokhov and other SF Ballet dancers, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Tbilisi, Georgia, June 2002. 
  • Invited by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to a welcome dinner for the vice president of China, April 2002.
  • Headlined “Yuan Yuan Tan and Friends: an Evening to Remember,” a gala performance, Shanghai, China, January 2002.
  • Invited by former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton to dinner at the White House in honor of the Premier of the State Council of China, Zhu Rongji, April 1999.
  • Performed at a gala performance in her honor in Shanghai, China in July 1998, with Roman Rykine. Roles included Opening Celebration, Desert, La Esmeralda Pas de Deux, Dream, Act II of Giselle, and Finale.
  • Performed pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle with Roman Rykine with The Hong Kong Ballet, August 1998.
  • Performed at the opening night gala for the International Ballet Competition, Nagoya, Japan, February 1999.
  • Performed La Esmeralda Pas de Deux with Roman Rykine at the 12th Japan Ballet Festival, Tokyo, 1998.
  • Performed the pas de deux from Tomasson’s Handel—A Celebration at Goldman Environmental Awards, 1998.
  • Performed Act 2 from Swan Lake with The Hong Kong Ballet, 1997.
  • Performed in Bravo China! Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl, broadcast to more than one billion people in China and Hong Kong, 1997.
  • Performed Tomasson’s Pandora Dance at the Asian Art Museum in honor of the Mayor of Osaka’s visit to San Francisco, 1997.
  • Performed La Esmeralda Pas de Deux with Felipe Diaz at The World Stars Gala, Prague, Czech Republic, 1996.


What has been your proudest moment as a dancer? Why?

On tour with SF Ballet in Shanghai and Beijing for my 20th anniversary with the Company. I started my career as a ballet student in Shanghai, so I felt like it had come full circle when I performed again on this momentous occasion, in my home country.

What's your perfect day?

Class, rehearsals, a great performance, and dinner with friends and family to celebrate after the show.

If you weren't a dancer, what would you be?

A fashion designer.