Ms. Zhang Nan was born in Shanghai. She graduated from the Shanghai Dance Conservatory in September 1966. She was the principal dancer for the Shanghai Ballet Company from October 1966 to April 1990, earning the country's Yi Ji Yan Yuan’s qualification, the highest level, in May 1988.
Ms. Zhang is most well known for her performance as Xi'er in the ballet The White-Haired Girl. In 1977 she toured with the Shanghai Ballet to France and Canada. She was also the lead dancer in many large-scale modern ballets： Nightingale and the Rose, Alibaba and the Forty Thieves, The Butterfly Lovers, and the classical ballet Coppelia. Her graceful movements and dancing style are famous among her fans. She has received much recognition for her dancing and teaching abilities. Ms. Zhang has also received recognition in the United States. The Taiwan Oversea Chinese Affairs Commission has awarded the Silver Medal to her for her two decades of spreading Chinese culture.
In 1990, Ms. Zhang immigrated to Chicago. In 1992, she started teaching Chinese folk dance in our school and has been our dance teacher for twenty-six years. Her rich experience and serious teaching style, high expectations and strong sense of responsibility have made her one of the best Chinese folk dance teachers in the metro Chicago area.
Whether it is classical palace court dance, folk dance, or Ethnic dance, Ms. Zhang choreographs a new dance every year based on the number of students and their experience levels. She choreographs different dances specifically to teach students different dancing principles as well as to take into account the students’ interests. Ms. Zhang not only considers the exquisite appearance and movements of the dance on stage, she pays attention to the mood and connotations of the dance. She requires students not only to perform the correct dance moves but also to express different feelings depending on the type of dance. Many students start learning to dance from Ms. Zhang from the age of five when they also begin Chinese language classes. Under Ms. Zhang’s tutelage, by the time the students graduate from high school, not only can they perform the choreographies elegantly and gracefully, they have been taught the principles of Chinese dance itself.