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November 06, 2021 3 min read


Xiaoxiao Cao is a dancer and businesswoman based in New York City. She started her ballet training at the age of three, and left to attend a school in Guangzhou to hone her skills as a young artist. Now, she’s danced with companies such as Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Boston Ballet in world-class theatres like the Lincoln Center in NYC, Kennedy Center in D.C., and National Performing Arts in Beijing, China -- but you might recognize her from the ballet company of Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera! On top of all this, Cao runs her own dancewear business, where her designs have graced the cover of Dance Magazine and have been sold in 12 countries across the globe. Her advice to rebound from failure? “Think positive and never give up. Keep working on it until [you] make it.” Read on to learn more about Xiaoxiao Cao and what makes her an Amazing Asian in the Arts! 

Name:  Xiaoxiao Cao

Heritage:  Chinese

Hometown:  Changsha, China

Current City:  New York City

Current project:  The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.

How did you get your start?

I started to learn ballet when I was 3 years old. My mom sent me to a local dance studio. Whenever music is on, I always just start to dance around and feel happy. 

Did you always want to be in the arts or did you have another path before you got here?

I always wanted to be in the arts. At the age of ten, I left my home and went to another city (Guangzhou) to join the professional ballet school there. Since then, I knew that I wanted to seriously be a professional dancer in the future.

Do you have any other “special skills?”

I’m actually a dancewear designer as well, and I have my own business. My line is called Xiaoxiao Designs, which launched in 2015.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

I’m so grateful that I have danced with many wonderful companies like the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Boston Ballet, and performed in the world-class theaters like the Lincoln Center in NYC, Kennedy Center in D.C., and National Performing Arts in Beijing, China. And now, I’m dancing/singing/acting on Broadway! My dancewear designs have been sold in 12 countries all over the world. And the principal dancer of Royal Ballet in London, Marianela Nuñez, wore my designs for the cover of Dance Magazine in 2018!

What do you love most about what you do?

I feel so lucky that what I do is what I love. I love that I can express myself through a role, dancing, singing and acting on stage. Designing dancewear is also another way to express my passion for ballet, and another way to get connected with people. It feels amazing every time when I see people feel comfortable and confident dancing in my designs.

If you come from parents who aren’t in the arts, what parts of them do you see in yourself that have helped you succeed in the business?

My parents aren’t in the arts, but they love and respect the arts. Their 100% support always helps me and cheers me up!

Where did you study at?

I left my hometown Changsha at age 10 and started to study ballet in the Guangzhou Art School. I joined the Guangzhou ballet as a professional ballerina right after my graduation at 16 years old, and then at the same time went to College for 4 years while I was dancing with the Guangzhou Ballet. When I came to New York, I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology for fashion design at summer courses before I launched my dancewear line, Xiaoxiao Designs.

What helped you most to rebound from what you considered your biggest failure or mistake in your career?

Think positive and never give up. Keep working on it until I make it. Also, meditation helps me a lot when I have a hard time.

To find out more about Xiaoxiao, please visit her at: 


Instagram:  @xiaoxiaocao46 and  @xiaoxiaodesigns

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