Ballet dancer

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Comes True For New York Ballet Dancer – West Side Rag

Photographs of Chun Wai Chan in past performances courtesy of New York City Ballet. Photo credit: Erin Baiano.

By Steve Holt

Thrilling leaps are part of the daily work of Chun Wai Chan, one of New York City Ballet’s rising stars. Now, he’s doing the big throw as principal dancer with the company.

Chan becomes the NYCB’s first Chinese director, and only the fourth Asian dancer to win the prestigious position. The promotion arrives just in time for the grand finale of their spring season. Chan will dance the role of the Horseman of Titania, in Dream of a summer nightchoreographed by legendary company founder George Balanchine to music by Felix Mendelssohn.

Born in Guangdong, China, Chan studied in Guangzhou, before obtaining a scholarship from Houston Ballet. He became principal there in 2017 and joined the NYCB as a soloist last August. Since then it has been featured in works including Balanchine’s The four temperaments and Nutcracker; Jerome Robbins’ Goldberg Variations and The four Seasons; by Justin Peck Pulcinella Variations; and Peter Martins’ Black Swan pas de deux Swan Lake.

You can catch this “generous dancer who stands out in the crowd” (The New York Times), in Dream of a summer night until Sunday, May 29 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Tickets are available at or by calling 212-496-0600.