Yen Han

Yen Han

Artistic Director

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

Apart from a perfect classical technique, Yen is endowed with an exceptionally expressive personality and artistic imagination. This is why her role portrayals have remained convincing and become 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 impressive musicality, her persuasive acting, naturalness and grace, her poetry, but also her great expressive power make each of her interpretations unforgettable. 

Yen dances principal characters in all the great classics of the repertoire: „Swan Lake“, „The Nutcracker“, „Sleeping Beauty“, „Giselle“, „La fille mal gardée“, „Don Quichotte“ and „Cinderella“.

Renowned choreographers created new roles and revolutionary visions of classical ballets for her: Heinz Spoerli with his Chloé in „Daphnis et Chloé“, Juliet in „Romeo and Juliet“, Marie in „The Nutcracker“, Solveig in “Peer Gynt” as well as the „Chosen One” in his modern version of „The Rite of Spring“ where she overwhelmingly uncovers the human basic instincts); Bernd Bienert with „Kompass“ (world première with newly written music by Luciano Berio); Jiří Kylián with „Bella Figura“). In 2011, Mats Ek created a new „Sleeping Beauty“ (Aurora) for Yen. Two years later he invited her as a guest to Stockholm to perform Juliet in the world premiere run of his new „Romeo and Juliet“. Moreover, she danced leading parts in ballets by Hans van Manen, William Forsythe, Lin-Hwai Min, Mauro Bigonzetti, Patrice Bart (title role in „Giselle“, 2015) and Alexei Ratmansky (Pas de trois in „Swan Lake“, 2016). During the 2016/17 season she extended her repertoire with major parts in world premieres by Filipe Portugal («disTANZ») and Christian Spuck («Messa da Requiem»). In Zurich, she also took on principal roles in the historical reconstructions of the ballets „The Firebird“ (Fokin), „The Rite of Spring“ (Nijinski) and „Skating Rink“ (Borlin).

In cinema Yen could recently 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.

The public and press always react to Yen’s stage appearances with exceptional acclaim. Three times, she was given a „Ballet International Critic Acclaim” as best dancer and for her Juliet she received a „Star of the Week” in Munich.

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.

Yen Han is married to Matthias Zinser. Herself a mother of two children, Yen's great wish is to transmit through her teaching to children and young people that which marks her own work as an artist: Passion and Joy in Dance.

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