About Eva Shan Chou

New Canaan, CT

Eva Shan Chou (CBA ’19) is a professor in the Department of English at Baruch College. A regular writer for Ballet Review (New York), she received her B.A. from Harvard College, her Ph.D. from Harvard University, and a fellowship from the Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College. Her scholarly work analyzes works of art both as creative works and also for their enlistment in China’s fashioning of self-identity. This dual focus has characterized her study of two literary giants, the 8th century classical poet Du Fu (Cambridge University Press) and the 20th century prose and fiction writer Lu Xun (Association of Asian Studies Publications) and now of ballet in China. Chou is the recipient of fellowships from the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, the Japan Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, and National Endowment for the Humanities. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge and a visiting professor at Charles University in Prague.

Ballet in China: A History

Formal ballet training in China began the 1954 establishment of a division of ballet in the new Beijing School of Dance. Undertaken with Soviet aid, ballet’s introduction was a product of the Cold War and an alliance between the two largest Communist nations. Today, China’s companies and dancers participate fully in the global ballet scene. At The Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU, Chou will develop a historical account of the contingent routes by which a specialized performance art reached this strikingly accomplished stage in its development. Like the country’s history, the path of ballet contained intense about-turns, multiple beginnings, and a recent strong arrival on the international scene. This history approaches the development of ballet in China as a function of fluctuating relations between an art form and cultural authorities, and it pays special attention to the role that ballet plays in the contestation and promulgation of national identity.


Image credit: Baruch College.