Chi Cao


Born: Shan Xi, China

Trained: Beijing Dance Academy and the Royal Ballet School

Joined: 1995; Principal, 2002

Awards: Third Prize, Prix de Lausanne, 1994; Gold Medal, Varna International Ballet Competition, 1998; Nomination for Best Actor for the Australian Inside Film Awards.

Who inspired you to start dancing: Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Most challenging experience: I starred as Li Cunxin in Bruce Beresford’s film Mao’s Last Dancer with no acting experience and only a couple of weeks of preparation!

Favourite band: Queen – having a perfect technique is great, but in a live performance, stage presence and energy are what really connect with the audience.

What would you be if you weren’t a ballet dancer: an actor or a professional boxer.

Frederick Ashton: La Fille mal gardée (Colas), The Two Pigeons (Young Man), The Dream (Oberon, Puck), Enigma Variations (Troyte), Les Patineurs (Blue Boy), Symphonic Variations and Voices of Spring
George Balanchine: Agon (pas de trois), The Four Temperaments (Melancholic Variation), Mozartiana (Solo boy), Serenade and Tarantella
David Bintley: Arthur (Lancelot), Beauty and the Beast (Beast, Raven), Edward II (Gaveston, Warwick, Lancaster), Hobson's Choice (Fred Beenstock, Salvation Army), Allegri diversi (lead role), The Orpheus Suite (Orpheus), The Seasons ('Spring'), The Shakespeare Suite (Hamlet), The Sons of Horus (Qebhsnuf), 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café (Southern Cape Zebra), Choros, Dance House, Sylvia (Aminta) and David Bintley and Galina Samsova's production of Giselle (Albrecht, 'Harvest pas de deux')
Oliver Hindle: The Four Seasons ('Spring', 'Summer') and Bright Young Things
Kenneth MacMillan: Romeo and Juliet (Romeo, Benvolio, Mercutio, Mandolin Dance lead) and Elite Syncopations ('Friday Night')
Twyla Tharp: In the Upper Room
Peter Wright's productions of Coppélia (Franz), The Nutcracker (Prince), The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Florimund, Bluebird) and Peter Wright and Galina Samsova's production of Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried, pas de trois)

David Bintley: Concert Fantasy (lead role) and The Seasons ('Spring')
Oliver Hindle: Bright Young Things

Gold medal, Varna International Ballet Competition, 1998.

Header image: Clothing (except for t-shirt) generously supplied by UK dancewear specialists Dans-ez