TDE Asks Yu-yao Liu, Principal Dancer With The Hong Kong Ballet

TDE Asks Yu-yao Liu, Principal Dancer With The Hong Kong Ballet
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Published on March 14, 2016
Yu-yao in "The Sleeping Beauty." Photo by Gordon Wong.

In Anticipation Of The Company's Performance At The Joyce

When: March 15-20, 2016
Where: The Joyce Theater, 175 8th Ave, Manhattan, NY
Tickets & performance details:
Hong Kong Ballet's official website:

One of Asia’s premiere classical ballet companies, the Hong Kong Ballet is gaining international recognition as a world-class institution that represents Hong Kong’s unique character. The first company in Asia to perform Nacho Duato’s eloquent Castrati, the company brings this ballet to The Joyce stage along with work by Krzysztof Pastor, the Artistic Director of Polish National Ballet, and Fei Bo, Resident Choreographer of the National Ballet of China. The Dance Enthusiast had the opportunity to speaking with one of the company's principal dancers Yu-yao Liu.

Yu-yao Liu, one of the Hong Kong Ballet's Principal Dancers.

Sammi Lim for The Dance Enthusiast: Ni hao, Yu-yao? Growing up, was it your ultimate dream job to be a ballerina?

Yu-yao Liu: Of course! I think most dancers fantasize being a ballerina - it's a dream! Not everyone can make a career out of his or her dream. However, I don't regard dancing as a job, because that would be too boring. Ballet has no limits, so I will continue to discover it through dancing, and to understand its secret.

TDE: You’ve been with the HK Ballet for more than a decade! Have you noticed any marked changes in the company since you joined them in 2005?

YY: There have been three artistic directors during my ten years in the company. Changing artistic directors has its pros and cons because every AD has his own ways of mangement and angles for appreciation. Dancers will, of course, want to show their best and undergo good development in the company. But for me, I will be true to myself no matter what happens - doing something I like without concerning myself with others' appreciation. My own enjoyment is of the utmost importance.

The Hong Kong Ballet's entire crew of Artistic Members and Directors.

TDE: What is it like working with the Hong Kong Ballet's Artistic Director Madeleine Onne?

YY:  I am an introverted individual, and don't like to show off in the front, which is a setback to myself as the choreographer or repetiteur may not want me to dance the important roles. I think Madeleine felt likewise at the beginning, but I really owe it to her for understanding my position and believing in me! Despite always nudging me to the front, she still cares about my feelings. Our relationship was built over time, understanding and trust.

TDE: Which of the company's productions being presented at The Joyce (A Room of Her Own, Castrati, Dancing in the Wind, In Light and Shadow) are you staring in? Are you intimidated by the difficulty level of any of the repertoire?

YY: I will be dancing A Room of Her Own and In Light and Shadow.

The pas de deux in the latter is the first and only scene of the piece that doesn't really have any connection with the other dancers standing towards the back. The choreographer explained that the piece must be danced by the main cast and that the movements are not really difficult. I didn't understand this at first, but when I rehearsed it, I discovered how difficult it is to make the dance memorable to the audience members; the end comes right after the pas de deux, hence the decision to star just the main cast.

Yu-yao Liu of the Hong Kong Ballet. Image courtesy of the Company.

TDE: Do you believe that the world of ballet faces an issue with diversity?

YY: The world is facing many different and interesting issues. I believe that as long as the foundation of the arts isn't destroyed, things should move foward with time... More and more audiences are accepting of and enjoy modern ballet. And many traditional Chinese dancers are now looking to basic ballet training to improve their skills and shapes.




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