Shen Jie is one of the most recognisable stars at the Hong Kong Ballet. He was the Blue Bird in Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty in 2010. Now he’s the prince in the rerun of the production which is taking place from October 14 to 17.
The principal dancer, who is originally from Zhejiang, came to Hong Kong for the first time in 2004 as one of eight students selected to perform at the Jean M. Wong School of Ballet summer camp. Three years later, he joined the Hong Kong Ballet, was promoted to be a soloist in 2013, and became a principal dancer in 2016. During his time with the company, he has performed many major roles, including Romeo in Septime Webre’s new Romeo + Juliet this summer, and won Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer at the 2016 and 2019 Hong Kong Dance Awards.
Shen will play Prince Désiré on October 17 in The Sleeping Beauty, and will take part in a brand new rendition of The Nutcracker in December.
We asked the ballet star to share with us what he does every day to keep himself performance ready.
I wake up to a very soft ringtone on my phone so that it doesn’t wake my child. I like doing some gentle stretching exercises on the bed for five minutes before I start my day. My muscles are usually sore in the morning after rehearsals and performances the evening before. I like hugging my legs to my chest and rolling back and forth to massage my back. Once I got up too suddenly which caused a spasm in my back. Since then I’m very cautious and make sure I warm up as long as I’m not late for work.
I like a healthy breakfast but I don’t go for a protein-based diet in particular. I make my own breakfast at home, which consists of bread, oats, soy milk and eggs. I add cheese and butter to my bread. I actually don’t particularly like cheese, but I feel like it sates my hunger and it’s nutritious.