Yen Han

Artistic Director & Principal Dancer

Yen Han is one of the most popular and versatile prima ballerinas of Ballet Zurich, where she still dances today. During the years that she has been a member, this company has become one of the best in Europe.

In 2012, Yen’s husband Matthias founded the Yen Han Dance Center. As artistic director of this ballet school, Yen succesfully developed her managing skills in planning and organizing the school’s syllabus, assembling the team of teachers, evaluating students and preparing them for international competitions or auditions, as well as dealing with representional and communication matters.

In 2019, the ballet school became a subsidiary of Yen Han Ballet Productions. Thus, Yen’s tasks as the artistic director of both enterprises now cover additional areas such as conceptualising the new company and its wide field of activity, fundraising, finding performance opportunities and negotiating international cooperations, engaging in social and community work.

As a dancer, Yen is endowed with an exceptionally expressive personality and artistic imagination, paired with an impeccable classical technique. This is why her role portrayals have remained convincing and became even more profound over the years. She covers an immense variety of contrasting characters from the great classical repertoire to modern dance or dance theatre. Her touching musicality, her persuasive acting, naturalness and grace, her poetry, but also her great expressive power make each of her interpretations unforgettable. 

Yen’s repertoire includes well-known versions of the great classics, whereas Heinz Spoerli, Bernd Bienert, Jiří Kylián, Mats Ek and Christian Spuck («Messa da Requiem», 2016) created numerous new roles and revolutionary visions of classical ballets for her. Her comic talent found an outlet in a role Christian Spuck invented for her in his new ballet «Nussknacker und Mausekönig» in October 2017, where Yen is featured as the Female Clown. In this production she appeared at the Bolshoi Theatre Moscow that same autumn.

In addition, Yen has danced leading parts in ballets by Hans van Manen, William Forsythe, Lin-Hwai Min, Mauro Bigonzetti, Patrice Bart (title role in «Giselle», 2015), Alexei Ratmansky (Pas de trois in «Swan Lake», 2016), Filipe Portugal and Sol León/Paul Lightfoot («Speak for Yourself», 2018).

In cinema Yen could be seen in the film «Spoerli – ich bin Tanzmacher» and on television as well as DVD in the ballets «Peer Gynt», «Cello Suites» and «Messa da Requiem», filmed at the Opernhaus Zürich.

In June 2013, Yen was honoured with the „Dance Prize of the Friends of Ballet Zurich”, which was awarded for the first time. This prize is assessed by Zurich ballet aficionados and acknowledges personal charisma, stage presence and technical mastery. Thus, the Friends of Ballet Zurich payed homage to two of their favourite principals, Yen Han and Arman Grigoryan. Only a few months later, in September 2013, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture BAK recognized Yen as the first ever winner of the Swiss Dance Award in the category „Outstanding Female Dancer”.

Yen was trained by Stefan Mucsi and Paul Maure in Los Angeles and at the Beijing Dance Academy. She was semifinalist at the „Prix de Lausanne“, a member of the Jeune Ballet de France in Paris and the Ballet de l’Opéra de Nice in France. With Ballet Zurich she tours throughout the world, to Poland, Russia (Bolshoi Theater Moscow), Brazil, Italy and Colombia, amongst others. As a soloist she appeared in Germany, France, Greece, Spain, the USA and China.

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