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Body and mind need space to unwind

Chinese ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan is always on the move. In this interview, she talks about what drives her to progress, how she finds the right balance – in both dancing and life – and why a quiet haven is so important for maintaining inner strength.

04/29/2022 Text: AUDI AG - Photo: AUDI AG Reading Time: 4 min

A relaxed Yuan Yuan Tan leans back in the vehicle and looks ahead.
Yuan Yuan Tan appreciates the quiet and privacy inside the Audi urbansphere concept¹ where she can rest mentally and physically while on the move.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

Yuan Yuan Tan, legend has it that your career was decided by flipping a coin. What’s the story behind it?

My parents had different views about what career I should pursue. My father hoped I would follow in his footsteps and become an engineer or a doctor. He felt that ballet was a Western art form and that being Chinese might prevent me from getting to the top. But my mother supported me because becoming a ballerina had also been her dream. They kept debating about whether I should enrol at the Shanghai Dance School. Finally, my parents decided to flip a coin to decide my career. The coin landed on heads, so my mother and I won.

 

So, becoming ballerina has always been a dream of yours. What sparked your passion for it?

I was five years old when I began watching ballet on television, and I still vividly remember seeing Galina Ulanova dance Swan Lake. At that very moment, I fell in love with ballet. My dream of one day performing in front of audiences the way she did started to come true when I began my ballet training at the age of eleven and was fully realised when I joined the San Francisco Ballet in the United States.

 

Which aspect of ballet fascinates you the most?

The fact that I can inspire people through my understanding of dance. I can tell them a story in a non-verbal language that touches and stirs them. That is also what I consider my greatest achievement – to dance on the world stage and to express my soul through dancing.

“I express my soul through dancing.”

Yuan Yuan Tan

How do you manage the stresses of dancing on the world’s leading stages?

Life as a dancer can be tough and stressful, not least because overexertion can damage and injure our bodies. Balance means everything to me – not only in the literal sense while performing all the dance movements but also in life and in my heart. I plan my time carefully to conserve my inner strength and to ensure my performances are smooth and flawless.

 

How do you strike the right balance?

By practising when it’s time to practise and resting when it’s time to rest. While on the move, I need a quiet space where body and mind can unwind. That’s why I appreciate the comfortable, deluxe interior of the Audi urbansphere concept¹. Since it’s like an extension of my home, it’s relaxing enough for me to meditate while riding in the car. The concept demonstrates that nothing is impossible and there are no limits to the imagination.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

About Yuan Yuan Tan

Ballet dancer Yuan Yuan Tan was born in Shanghai, China, where she attended the Shanghai Dance School. When she was just 19 years old, she joined the San Francisco Ballet as a soloist. A mere two years later, she was promoted to principal dancer – the highest rank for a ballet dancer. That made her the youngest principal dancer in the San Francisco Ballet’s history, where today she is performing her 27th season.

The open doors reveal the interior of the Audi urbansphere concept.
The Audi urbansphere concept¹ is the third electric concept car and the largest model in the sphere family to showcase the carmaker’s vision of tomorrow’s premium mobility. The deluxe first-class interior is the biggest in an Audi to date.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

“I believe that all artistic creations spring from life.”

Yuan Yuan Tan

Is freeing your imagination from limits what helps you keep progressing, too?

Every day, I aim to push myself to go one step further. I use my own standards as the baseline and don’t compare myself to others. My own ambitions and perceptions spur me on. I believe there is always something beautiful to discover in the world. Little everyday things, such as a train passing over a green meadow or grandparents taking their grandchildren to play in the park, inspire me. These moments are everywhere, it’s just a matter of whether you are open to discovering them and capturing their essence at the right time. This is very important for an artist, and I believe that all artistic creations spring from life.

A front view of the Audi urbansphere concept, shot at a slight angle.

Private space in the urban environment

With the Four Rings’ most spacious interior yet, every passenger on board the Audi urbansphere concept¹ can lean back – even during the daily rush hour. Conceived from the inside out every inch of the way, the vehicle offers a progressive lounge experience on wheels with intuitive technologies and individual services.

Learn more

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

¹The vehicle shown is a concept vehicle that is not available as a production vehicle.

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