Born and raised in Beijing, Wang Yuanyuan is one of China’s leading modern dance choreographers. She prides herself on being rooted in Chinese traditions, while at the same time producing innovative, authentic, and thought-provoking contemporary dance works for the world stage. She began her dance journey at the age of ten as a dancer in the Affiliated Middle School of the Beijing Dance Academy, and continued to study choreography at the Academy, where she later served as a teacher. She furthered her studies at the prestigious California Institute of Arts School of Dance in Los Angeles, where she completed a Master of Fine Arts in 2002. In 2015, she received her Honorary Fellowship from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA).
In 1998 Ms Wang was named resident choreographer of the National Ballet of China and successively staged Butterfly Lovers, Rainbow of the Night, Attraction, Lost Emotion, Fate, and a Chinese version of Nutcracker. In addition, she choreographed a ballet version of Raise the Red Lantern for film director Zhang Yimou, and the dance sequences for Tan Dun’s music in the film The Banquet for director Feng Xiaogang. She also choreographed for the Hong Kong Handover celebrations in 1997, and was one of the main choreographers for the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. In 2008, Ms Wang founded the Beijing Dance Theatre with veteran lighting designer Han Jiang and set designer Tan Shaoyuan. Their first creation – Diary of Empty Space – was premiered the same year, followed by Stirred from a Dream, a dance-drama adapted from the Kunqu opera Peony Pavilion, Haze, Prism, The Color of Love, Marlet, Harvest, Wild Grass, Hamlet, The Nightingale and the Rose, Poison, and Golden Lotus which was commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2011.
Her works have been staged around the globe – in the United States, Russia, Korea, France, Bulgaria, Denmark, Singapore, Australia, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Columbia and Mexico. In recognition of the excellence of her choreography, Ms Wang has been invited to serve as guest choreographer at New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Shanghai Ballet, California Institute of the Arts, and the HKAPA where she created Reminisce in 2004 and Crossing in 2008 for the Ballet Department. She restaged the latter for a cross-stream ensemble in 2012 for performance at the International Festival of Dance Academies.
Aside from her early award as a dancer in the Paris International Dance Competition, Ms Wang has won ‘Best Choreographer’ awards at the Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria, the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, and the Moscow and Shanghai International Ballet Competitions respectively, making her the most internationally awarded Chinese choreographer to date. Ms Wang is dedicated to inspiring choreographers’ creativity, encouraging them to break the constraints of stereotypes, so as to constantly explore innovative choreographic ways and means.
She has been invited to give masterclasses in China and abroad, at venues and institutions including the Mark Morris Dance Center, the Kennedy Center, Columbia College Chicago, Sadler’s Wells, Theatre Bonn, the National Theatre of Iceland, the Cervantino International Festival, Israeli Opera, Beijing Dance Academy, and The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, among others.