10 Things About Nan Wang  (王楠)
May 21, 2021

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Nan Wang. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

Corps de Ballet member Nan Wang will retire in June 2021 at the end of the 2020/21 Season after 17 years with The National Ballet of Canada. We wish him the best in his further adventures and travels! Learn more about Nan's dance journey and his background below.

  1. 1Nan was born in the Year of the Rat, which is associated with being hardworking, sociable, charming and clever.
  2. 2Nan was born in Dalian, a port city in Liaoning, one of China’s northeastern provinces. In China, northeastern people are known to be humble, but hardworking and hospitable. Dalian began as a fishing village and was built up when occupied by Russia and Japan at different points in history.
  3. 3Dalian is known for seafood exports including abalone and sea cucumber. In Chinese culture they are considered expensive delicacies. Growing up, little Nan would pick sea urchins and oysters right off the rocks by the ocean. Now he brings a bit of ocean home with a massive fish tank in his living room.
  4. 4In the northeast, it can get even colder than Canada at times. People like to eat a lot of spicy foods such as hot pot and bbq kabobs, which remain some of Nan’s favourite foods. He continues to hunt for the most authentic food spots in Toronto.
  5. 5When he was a child, he had no exposure to ballet and actually wanted to be a soldier. He moved away from home to Shenyang, capital of Liaoning at age 10, to pursue dance. He was originally scouted for ballroom dancing and only learned that he was studying ballet a year after beginning his training.
  6. 6He left Shenyang at age 17 after seven years of Vaganova-style ballet training. He unknowingly had to take a first-class flight to Canada when coach was sold out – his dad had to buy a suit at the airport because Nan was not allowed to get onto first class wearing jeans.
  7. 7Nan arrived in Vancouver where he had two years of training at the Goh Ballet Academy before being invited to join The National Ballet of Canada in Toronto by Karen Kain in 2004.
  8. 8He became a Canadian citizen at age 27. Nan was sad to give up his Chinese citizenship but keeps the culture tightly woven into daily life. He misses the Lunar New Year festivities the most.
  9. 9Nan has travelled extensively in his home country of China and makes recommendations for interested visitors below. He has yet to go to Xi’an, the ancient capital for many dynasties in China, and Chongqing, the region of all-spicy food and pandas. He’d also like to go to Hong Kong where his wife was born (and so she can go to Disneyland Hong Kong).
  10. 10Nan hopes that people from all backgrounds can work together to stop anti-Asian racism. Instead of wasting energy to separate people and instill hate, we should make our world a better place for everyone.
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Nan Wang in The Second Detail. Photo by Karolina Kuras.

Nan's Travel Recommendations:
  • Zhangjiajie for the beautiful scenery (the inspiration for the landscape of Avatar)
  • Hangzhou, which is known as the ‘Venice of China’, and now is a tech hub
  • Shanghai, a business hub, but more importantly the location of Disneyland China (highly recommended by his wife)
  • Hainan – you wouldn’t expect a tropical island in China but here’s one
  • Inner Mongolia, where a horse almost ran loose with Nan on its back into the desert (luckily the horse found its way home on its own)
  • Harbin, ice sculpture centre of the world and heavily influenced by previous Russian occupation
  • Beijing, for all the historic sites, including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall

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