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Principal Dancers 


" Dance taught me how to use my time efficiently, how to work hard for what I wanted and believed in, and how to work in a team. I am proud to call APDA a second home. "

-   Jenny Zhao 

Jenny Zhao

( 2015 Princeton University)

Principal Dancer

Jenny Zhao.jpg

I discovered dance at a pretty late age, but that doesn't change how tremendous impact it has had on my life. Coming from a tomboy, or "cowboy" as Ms. Jenny calls it, background, I never expected to one day turn into the Sugarplum Fairy nor Aurora Princess, but somehow, Mr. Wei and Ms. Jenny made it happen. For me, dance has meant everything and also has helped me tremendously in the college application process. I am so lucky to have stumbled across something I love so much and am not so terrible at. In the college application they look for depth not breadth (of course if you can have both depth and breadth that's even better), and dance was my depth. Not only did the simple fact that I danced helped in the process, but also the intangible values and lessons dance, and at APDA in particular, has taught me have helped as well. Awards and solo roles were valuable to my application, but most importantly the self-discipline I was taught and mental maturity I developed was evident in all other aspects of my application and of my life, which added more value. My creative maturity developed as a mirror to my emotional esprit. Dance taught me how to use my time efficiently, how to work hard for what I wanted and believed in, and how to work in a team. I am proud to call APDA a second home.  

Jessica Li

( 2016 Columbia - Sciences PO Dual Degree)

Principal Dancer


Dance is like a choreographer who creates stories that transform dancers into people greater than who they were yesterday. From solo routines, I have gained the courage to shine. From group dances, I have gained an understanding of teamwork. From ballet class, I have gained a sense of inner peace. From travels everywhere, I have gained some of my favorite memories. From summer intensives, I have gained insight into the roots of passion. From my teachers, I have gained the maturity needed to learn. From silly drama, I have gained a more critical and complex perspective. From dance itself, I have gained, more than anything, the willpower to challenge every challenge. And that is the story dance has created for me: a story of personal growth from the dreams of a little girl to the hopes of a proud graduate, a story made possible only thanks to my second home that is APDA. Thank you, Ms. Jenny and Mr. Wei, for giving me this story.  

Debby Song

( 2016 Columbia University)

Principal Dancer


To me, dance is about pinpointing the balance between dichotomies: the leap and the fall, the ease and the pain, the excitement of triumph and the bitterness of failure. It’s in finding that balance that I experience the thrill of progress. But I’ll admit, that balance is hard to find. Failure is, after all, so closely interwoven with dance; yet, as I’ve learned through dance, to experience failures means I can still experience progress. Ultimately, dance has taught me the precious value of self-reflection; through that, dance has given me the means of improvement, and with it, the voice for self-creation, which I will always be thankful for.  

Jennifer Wu

( 2017 Columbia University)

Principal Dancer


Had I not been introverted as a toddler, my parents would not have sent me to APDA, and I would not have been provided with the opportunities to travel and perform around the world. Dance has not only taught me self-assurance, but also enabled me to realize that my performances, in the end, are not actually about myself alone – dance is a universal language through which I can express and relate to a variety of human sufferings as well as joy. More importantly, dance has introduced to me the passion for helping enrich the lives of others, may it be for entertainment or crosscultural experiences. Thank you APDA for a lifetime of memories and enabling me to become the confident and fearless person I am today.

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