She was the People's dancer and choreographer. She was her students' kind teacher
and friend. She was a dear mother and an honest wife. She was Dai Ailian, "Mother of Dance" in China, who two years ago danced in the "Up-Close" studio at the age of 88. May 10, 2006 would have been her 90th birthday. In the first edition of this special two-part series remembering her, Madam Dai's colleagues and students gathered in the "Up-Close" studio to discuss her career as China's foremost dancer and dance teacher.

On February 9, 2006, the pioneer and founder of modern Chinese dancing art, famous dancer and dance teacher, Madam Dai Ailian drew an elegant stop to her 90 years of life.

Dai Ailian was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1916. In 1930, she went to London to study dance. In 1937, Japan launched its aggressive war against China. By chance, Dai Ailian read Edgar Snow's "Red Star Over China", and decided to return to her home country. With the help of Madam Soong Ching Ling, Dai Ailian arrived in Hong Kong in 1940. Soon after she returned to China, she traveled extensively to ethnic minority groups in the southwest to learn folk dances. In 1946, at the gathering of frontier music and dancing in Chongqing, Dai Ailian performed a number of national dances she had created. During the following years, she never stopped choreographing, performing, and teaching dance. In the early 1950s, she was involved in the creation and leading performance of China's first ballet: "Dove of Peace". And then, "Dance of Lotus Flowers" and "Flying Apsaras" swept the stages both home and abroad.

From 1950, Dai Ailian began to work at various leading posts, such as the director of the Central Song and Dance Ensemble, the first dean of the Beijing Academy of Dance, the director and adviser of China's National Ballet, and honorary president of the Chinese Dancers' Association. In 1982, she was elected the vice-chairman of the International Council for Dance of the UNESCO.

"Ballet is my work, while folk dance is my greatest pleasure." Dai Ailian's words will be remembered along with her lifelong devotion to China's dance...

— Written by Chai Haoran