Jiyan Dai

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Jiyan Dai began his ballet training in China at the age of ten. During his time studying in Shen Yang Dance Academy, Jiyan was awarded first prize and a bronze medal at Japan’s prestigious International Ballet Competition in Nagoya in 2004. In 2005, Jiyan was accepted into the Beijing Dance Academy where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Ballet Performing and Teaching with a major in Classic Ballet, Pas de Deux, and Contemporary Dance. While in Beijing he won a Bronze medal in the Senior Group Classical Ballet of the 8th “Taoli Cup” China National Dance Competition in 2006 and Special Artistry Award in the Vaganova International Ballet Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2009, Jiyan joined Universal Ballet in Seoul, South Korea. While he was on tour with Universal Ballet, the San Francisco Review wrote about his performance, “but perhaps the biggest discovery in the 70 dancer company is Jiyan Dai, a young Chinese dancer of fabulous ballon, exactitude, and finesse.” In 2012, Jiyan Dai decided to take his artistry to America and joined Tulsa Ballet and performed many principal roles. By 2014, Jiyan accepted a principal contract with Texas Ballet Theater. He not only performs principal roles but also has choreographed Classic Theme B and Awakening for Texas Ballet Theater Professional Division in 2015 and 2018, respectively. He was also given the opportunity to perform Esmeralda Pas de Deux, Don Quixote Pas de Deux, End of Time Pas de Deux in Germany at the Münster Theater, and was a guest artist with Queensland Ballet in Australia as the Prince in The Nutcracker in 2017. Jiyan Dai has performed in over 13 countries and danced countless roles around the world. Jiyan is currently in his fifth season with Texas Ballet Theater.

Where are you from?
Shenyang, China

When did you begin dancing?
When I was 6

Why did you begin dancing?
I always moved so much and to get more exercise

When did you join Texas Ballet Theater?
2014

What is your favorite ballet to see?
Don Quixote

What is your favorite ballet to perform/what is your favorite role you have performed?
Onegin and In the Middle

What surprised you the most about being a professional dancer?
It changed my life and I get to see all around the world.

What is your most memorable vacation?
Scuba diving at Oman

What’s your least favorite word?
Awesome

What’s your favorite food from the State Fair of Texas?
Fajita

Do you enjoy teaching or choreographing?
I love teaching and choreographing

What other talents do you have besides dancing?
Photography

What do you do over the summer break?
I want to get my pilot’s license

What is something you enjoy doing outside of dancing?
Taking photographs

What outdoor activities do you enjoy?
Fishing

Do you have a favorite sports team? If so, who?
FC Barcelona

If you could drive any car, what would it be?
Ferrari

Use one word to describe the feeling after dancing the last performance of The Nutcracker:
Fabulous