Jin Xing is one of the brightest stars of the Shanghai Ballet. But her journey to international fame has been fraught with difficulty, because Jin Xing was in fact born a man. From an early age Jin was intensely uncomfortable with her gender. Unable to understand or put words to these feelings, she immersed herself in ballet dancing, her first love. Urged on by her parents, she joined the People's Liberation Army, where she received both dance and military training and became a Colonel. The curtains opened on a new act in her life when she received an arts scholarship to study dance in New York. While there she discovered that it was possible to change sex, and in an instant, what had been the province of dreams became a real prospect. She took the courageous decision to return to China to face the authorities, quit the army and confront the world with her decision to become a woman. As dramatic, graceful and deeply felt as a pas de deux, Shanghai Tango is a compelling account of growing up in a body that feels alien and of braving pioneering surgery in Communist China.
Jin Xing was the subject of a television documentary at the age of eight and sent to a military academy at the age of nine. After moving to New York, she returned to China for a sex-change operation in 1995. Since then she has continued her career as a dancer and choreographer, with productions including Shanghai Tango and Carmina Murana. Jin Xing lives in Shanghai with her three adopted three children.