Check Out The New Barbie Doll Inspired By Yuan Yuan Tan
Yuan Yuan Tan and the new Barbie based on her. Photos via Mattel
While Barbie is not the first thing that comes to mind as a role model for my 3-year-old daughter (see: unrealistic body image), Mattel has made huge strides to change that.
Starting in 2015, they rolled out a "Shero" collection, honoring boundary-breaking women, including 2016's Misty CopelandFirebird Barbie. To celebrate International Women's Day yesterday, the company announced 14 new Global Role Model Barbie dolls—including one based on San Francisco Ballet's Yuan Yuan Tan.
The one-of-a-kind doll features Tan in her White Swan tutu from Swan Lake. Mattel recognizes Tan's achievement as the first Chinese-born dancer to maintain a principal position in a major American ballet company.
"I'm incredibly honored to be part of the "Shero" collection," Tan told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's important to me that young girls know that they can be anything they want to be, so they should dream big and never give up!"
Other 2018 Sheroes include snowboarding phenom Chloe Kim, boxing champ Nicola Adams and Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins. Mattel also announced an "Inspiring Women" collection, featuring Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, and Katherine Johnson, the NASA pioneer who's story inspired the film Hidden Figures. The power trio is going into mass production and are available for pre-order now.
Sadly, the majority of Shero dolls are never produced for the public, except super popular role models like Misty Copeland. So unless Tan's White Swan Barbie gains enough momentum and popularity on social media, she'll remain a historic one-off.
Come through ballet fans! Use #MoreRoleModels and #YuanYuanBarbie to champion the Barbie version of one of the greatest ballerinas of our generation.
Fingers crossed for a modern dance Barbie next year—Martha? Isadora? Judith? Pina?
The cast of Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise in rehearsal. Photo by Stephanie Berger, Courtesy The Shed
Akram Khan loves to dive into genres he is unfamiliar with. While his own movement vocabulary is a hybrid of kathak and contemporary dance, he has choreographed a new Giselle for English National Ballet, collaborated with flamenco artist Israel Galván and made a dance theater duet with film star Juliette Binoche. Now, in between touring Xenos, his final full-length solo, and several other projects, he's found time to tackle kung fu. Khan is part of the collaborative team behind Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise, a blockbuster musical based on themes of migration and the fight for survival, running June 22–July 27. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and featuring a score that remixes songs by Sia, it's part of the inaugural season of The Shed, a new venue in New York City.