Yan Chen was trained at Shanghai Dance School, China and San Francisco Ballet School. In 1987, She was awarded Paris Foundation of Dance Award at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland. She then joined The Washington Ballet under the artistic director Mary Day. In the fall of 1993, Ms. Chen joined the American Ballet Theatre, and six months later, she was promoted to soloist.
As one of American Ballet Theatre’s most lyrical and versatile dancer, she has performed many leading roles including Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, title role in Cinderella, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, the Sylphide in La Sylphide, Swanilda in Coppelia, Gulnar in Le Corsaire, Desdemona in Othello, Giselle in Giselle, as well as works by Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylian, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, George Balanchine, John Cranko, John Neumeier, James Kudelka. During her performing career, Ms. Chen had performed as a guest artist throughout the world, she has been invited to perform at many prestigious dance festivals such as Vail international dance festival, Jacobs pillow dance festival. She also appeared in PBS Great Performance program for Television and Video/DVD: “American Ballet Theatre Now.”
Ms. Chen always had a passion for teaching. Since 1994, she served as the guest teacher with the Orlando Ballet School and the company (then the Southern Ballet Theater). In 2009 she became the Ballet Master with Orlando Ballet. She is currently the faculty member and adjudicator for American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive program and Guest Ballet Master for the American Ballet Theatre studio company.