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  • Graceful, strong, mesmeric – the ballerina captivates audiences the world over. She tells GEMMA SOAMES about a life at the barre

    As someone whose future was decided quite literally on the toss of a coin, Yuan Yuan Tan is living proof that life’s smallest moments can have the biggest impact. As a ten-year-old girl living in Shanghai, faced with the decision of whether or not to enroll in ballet school, Tan’s Buddhist parents decided to leave her future to fate. The coin landed on the side of dance.

    Tan’s introduction to ballet came via television. “I saw Galina Ulanova dancing in Swan Lake when I was about five,” she remembers, sitting before me in her Hong Kong hotel

    Photographs by ZHANG JINGNA Styling by HELEN BROADFOOT

    Dress by Victoria, Victoria Beckham; ring by Sophie Bille Brahe


    PROFESSION: Principal ballerina

    MY STYLE: Simple, often with a chic Chinese element like a high collar. If I wear a Cheongsam I feel elegant

    FAIL-SAFE PIECES: Diesel jeans or black pants by Fendi, a tailored jacket and ballet-style flats

    GO-TO-LABELS: Blanc de Chine, Dior couture for evening and Tod’s for shoes that are chic and comfortable

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