Xue Jinghua

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Xue.
Xue Jinghua
Native name 薛菁华
Born (1945-10-07) 7 October 1945 (age 71)
Wuxi, Jiangsu
Nationality Chinese
Occupation Ballet dancer (active until 1990)
Chairperson and instructer at the Jinghua Dance and Arts Centre
Known for Red Detachment of Women

Xue Jinghua (born October 7, 1946 ) (Chinese: 薛菁华; pinyin: Xūe Jīnghúa) is a Chinese ballerina who was cast in the now internationally well-known Red Detachment of Women of the National Ballet of China as Wu Qinghua, the heroine of the ballet for which she became a prima ballerina.

Early life[edit]

Xue was born in Wuxi to a family of intellectuals. Her mother encouraged her to pursue the arts, particularly dance. When the Beijing Dance Academy invited a ballet instructor from the Soviet Union to teach in 1956, Xue's mother took her to Beijing to audition. Although Xue had never danced ballet before, she passed three exams and was enrolled in the programme.[1]

Dance career[edit]

National Ballet of China[edit]

Xue joined the National Ballet of China in 1963.[2] She was relatively unknown as a ballerina prior to being cast in Red Detachment of Women. It has been reported that Jiang Qing saw Xue perform and exclaimed that she reminded her of herself at that age, advising the troupe to give the dancer a role. Xue was first cast as the company commander, then as the lead Wu Qinghua (Chinese: 吴清华).[3] Alternatively, it has also been suggested that Zhou Enlai saw her perform as the company commander and recommended Xue be cast as the lead.[1]

The film version of the ballet was released in 1971 in China, five years into the Cultural Revolution. Xue starred opposite Liu Qingtang, who was cast as Hong Changqing. As one of the Eight model plays, the film was shown across the country in every cinema, every factory, and every village in the following several years until 1976 when the Cultural Revolution officially ended. As a consequence of the film, Xue achieved nationwide fame.[1] The role was quite demanding, as over half the film (42.25 minutes) featured Xue onstage, either performing solos, duets or ensemble pieces.[3]

When Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, visited China in 1972, he was entertained with a stage production of Red Detachment of Women, and Xue Jinghua performed as Wu Qinghua in the ballet.[4]

Xue left the National Ballet in 1990.[2]


Xue taught dance at the Huaxia Art Center, Shenzhen from 1993 to 2015.[5]


Xue appeared as a judge on the 2002 programme CCTV Dance Competition.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "【刘庆棠和薛菁华关系】芭蕾明星刘庆棠和薛菁华" [The relationship between Liu Qingtang and Xue Jinghua: Ballet stars Liu Qingtang and Xue Jinghua] (in Chinese). Mingren Wang. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Nomination of Representatives of Arts Interests in HKADC" (PDF). Home Affairs Bureau. Home Affairs Bureau of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Harris, Kristine (2010). "Re-makes/Re-models: The Red Detachment of Women between Stage and Screen". The Opera Quarterly. 26 (2-3): 316–342. 
  4. ^ The poetics of difference and displacement p119
  5. ^ "薛菁华—舞蹈家真正的艺术人生" [Xue Jinghua: the true artistic life of a dancer]. Huaxia Art Center. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  6. ^ "王心刚与刘庆棠 薛菁华年轻时照片" [Wang Xingang and Liu Qingtang: photographs of a young Xue Jinghua]. Mingren Wang. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2017.