The Dirt: WanTing Zhao

WanTing Zhao in Helgi Tomasson's Nutcracker (photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy San Francisco Ballet)

Born in China, WanTing Zhao has been a rising talent at San Francisco Ballet since joining the corps in 2011. Thanks to her jaw-dropping lines and expressive upper body, she hasn’t been relegated to the back row: She’s performed featured roles in ballets including Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella and Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymonda. Zhao trained at Beijing Dance Academy and The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia before arriving in San Francisco. This season, you can see her as the Queen of the Snow and the Arabian soloist in Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker—or catch her in Giselle and George Balanchine’s Serenade. Want to know more about this up-and-coming ballerina? Read on for The Dirt. —JD

What dancer would you drop everything to see?

Sylvie Guillem. Svetlana Zakharova is also one of my favorites.

What TV show takes up the most room on your DVR?

"Vampire Diaries"!

What’s your favorite movie?

I know it's old but I cry every time I watch Titanic.

Who would play you in the movie version of your life?

Ziyi Zhang. She used to be a dancer.

Who is your dance crush?

Carlos Acosta.

What’s your most embarrassing onstage moment?

I ran to do a lift with my partner and fell jumping toward him.

What’s the strangest thing in your dance bag?

I always carry around SunChips.

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