Inimitable Jin Xing: A Performance Will Be Remembered


On Stage with Jin Xing - 5pm | Sunday, October 26th, 2014

In honor of ACC's 50th anniversary, Jin Xing will be making her first appearance on stage in Hong Kong...



On Stage with Jin Xing - 5pm | Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Update: With thanks to a warm public response, tickets for the performance on Sunday are now sold out. Please contact the ACC office should you wish to be included in our waiting list and we will be n touch if spaces become available. Thank you for your support.

In honor of ACC's 50th anniversary, Jin Xing will be making her first appearance on stage in Hong Kong. The Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong (ACC HK) and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) co-presents: “On Stage with Jin Xing” – the Hong Kong debut of China’s pioneering modern dancer and choreographer, Jin Xing (金星), sponsored by Lane Crawford. Jin Xing is renowned across Europe and China for her artistry and force of character, and is distinguished as the first Chinese dancer to receive a fellowship from ACC Hong Kong in 1988 when she was only 19 years of age. The ACC trip gave her the invaluable opportunity to learn from masters of modern dance including Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, which has had a profound impact upon her career.

Apart from presenting her debut performance here in Hong Kong, the “On Stage with Jin Xing” education and outreach program will provide Hong Kong’s university students with the same invaluable opportunity to engage with a master of modern dance as Jin Xing was given through her ACC grant. The program will include a master class for HKAPA students and a free public outreach dialogue at Chinese University of Hong Kong to allow for in-depth interaction with Jin Xing.

Event & Ticket Enquiry:

Kathy Ip | T: + 852 2895 0407 | E: kip@acc.org.hk


Inimitable Jin Xing: A Performance Will Be Remembered

Written by Abby Chen

It was the late 1980s, and an up and coming dancer from China had just arrived in New York City. Her name was Jin Xing, and she was there by virtue of a fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council. She had come to study modern dance, an art form then little known or appreciated in her home country. Her talent was obvious, but no one could have guessed that this young and passionate dancer would go on to single-handedly revolutionize the face of modern dance in China, as well as become the first positive, openly embraced transgendered icon in the nation. When asked what impact the ACC grant and her studies in the U.S. had on her success, Jin Xing replied:

In retrospect, I recognize that the grant I received from the ACC has changed my life. Through the grant the ACC offered a great opportunity to discover the diversity of American (dance) art. Thanks to this, I enhanced my knowledge and experience by working with numerous outstanding dance artists in the U.S. I’m convinced that without the ACC I wouldn't have achieved what I did. I wouldn't be who I am now![1]

After this explorative and adventurous stint in the U.S., she spent several years in Europe working as choreographer for Italian TV and entering an academic career by teaching dance as professor at a Belgian university. She finished her foreign travels with a world tour, and, quite remarkably, returned home to China to have her sex reassignment surgery. She has since established her own dance company, which launched her independent career outside of China’s government supported system.

Jin Xing is nothing if not captivating. Reactions to her are always complex and varied, a fact due in large part to the multiplicity of roles she seamlessly embodies. She is, first and foremost, an artist. Her incredible professionalism and skill as a dancer have put her squarely and permanently in the public eye. Not content to master tried and true styles of dance, she has used her body to break ground and explore new dimensions of movement and motion. By infusing western style modern dance with her classical training and character, she has been able to create a whole new expressive language to be utilized on stages across the world. Amazingly, she has managed to transplant this genre of dance to a previously unenthusiastic China, and continues to nourish the art form through dance companies and festivals as it continues to develop in her homeland. It is with good reason that German newspaper Die Zeit has referred to her as, “probably the world’s best dancer.”[2]

Just scratching the surface of Jin Xing’s life’s story reveals her role as a strong and willful individual. The sheer energy and power she posses as a human being is exuded through her ability of survival, in the form of reinvention and rebirth. After going on a hunger strike at age 9, she convinced her parents to let her join the PLA in order to study dance. By age 17 she had earned the rank of Colonel, and won her first national title of the juvenile group the same year.[3] She managed to get funding in her early 20s to study a controversial art form in a foreign country, and a few short years later had mastered the genre well enough to teach it as professor at the Royal Dance Academy in Brussels, Belgium.

If that is not impressive enough, she has since gone on to overcome the botched operation that almost handicapped her, founded China’s first modern dance company, produced China’s first modern dance festival, among other personal and professional achievements. She has bucked all expectations and managed to push beyond gendered space and create a life all her own. By harnessing this extraordinary inner strength, she has shaped not only her own life, but radically transformed both the dance world and public perception of human possibilities in China.

Jin Xing has become a household name after joining the China version of “So You Think You Can Dance.” This television reality dance show garnered top rating largely because of Jin Xing’s participating as one of the judges. Her larger than life aura not only elevated the artistic level of the program itself, her witty but insightful, honest yet humorous critique pushes dance, this highly under-appreciated art form to a new height of recognition.

Juxtaposing with the strong image of a cultural icon, she embodies another inspiring, albeit relatable, role of being a woman. Beyond a whirlwind of a public career, Jin Xing still finds room to create and grow into her personal relationships as a daughter, mother and wife. While she embraces these classic female social positioning, she does so strictly on her own terms. Though she was assigned male at birth, she insisted on being accepted as the daughter she was, not the son she was told to be. She decided for herself when she was ready for parenthood and marriage, while she continues to run her company and revolutionize dance in China. She stands as a performer of life for viewers seeking to reshape themselves in a society that is true to their passions and allows them to be the best versions of their own, and for the benefit of their loved ones.

Jin Xing’s legacy is a case study in self-reinvention and changing the status quo. She has broken stereotype after stereotype and pushed all boundaries imposed on her, whether it be leaving a military career to study modern dance, refusing to stay in a male body, voluntarily becoming a single mother, or even continuing to dance into middle age. One of the most striking qualities about her life’s story is that despite all the controversy she initially engenders, she always ends up finding acceptance. Originally seen as a trophy used to symbolize progress in China, she has managed to win the hearts of people from all walks of life that she has become embraced as the inspiring human being she is.

Despite her wild success, Jin Xing, true to character, remains singularly focused on her lifelong love of dance. When asked about her status as a cultural icon, she answered through her husband that she, “never had the ambition to become such a phenomenon in China. Her only intention was, and is, to perform well on whatever public stage she's being offered.”[4]

It is without a doubt that she has performed well and proud on the public stage. But all things considered, it has to be said that she has performed an even more remarkable job on the stage of life.

[1] Email from Heinz-Gerd Oidtmann to author on September 6, 2014

[2] Schüle, Christian. " Die Vortänzerin von Shanghai." Die Zeit 17 January 2002

[3] 1985年首屆桃李杯大賽少年組金獎

[4] Email from Heinz-Gerd Oidtmann to author on September 6, 2014