A former ballet dancer in China is winning hearts online after he resumed dancing following a 17-year break.
Inspiring comeback story: The 40-year-old man from Shanghai, surnamed Yao, rekindled his passion for ballet after the nearly two-decade hiatus and began posting videos of himself performing ballet routines.
His return to the dance floor gained widespread attention, earning him the affectionate nickname “flexible fatty” on the video sharing platform Douyin. In the viral clips, Yao can be seen dancing in studios as well as unconventional locations like warehouses, underground garages and parks.
An early passion: Yang’s ballet background traces back to his early years as a student at the prestigious Shanghai Dance School from the age of 11 to 17, before being recruited by the renowned Suzhou Ballet Theatre. For reasons he did not disclose, he decided to quit dancing at age 23 and pursued a career in e-commerce.
Yao’s return: The strict COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai last year reignited his passion for ballet. Despite weighing 85 kilograms (approximately 187 pounds) with his height of 182 centimeters (5 feet 9 inches), Yao remained determined to reclaim his passion. According to Yang, he began with simple movements to protect his knees, which had become vulnerable after years of inactivity.
“I followed my schoolteachers’ instructions and utilized my own stage experience to resume my ballet training,” Yao explained.
Mixed feedback: Yao’s ballet videos have garnered widespread acclaim online, with over 2,000 comments praising his dedication and persistence. Many internet users praised his enthusiasm for ballet, expressing admiration for his elegant movements despite his current physique.
And while some internet users resorted to fat-shaming, Yang remains committed to looking past the negative remarks and continuing with enjoying the craft.