Cincinnati ballet dancer fights to stay in the US - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Cincinnati ballet dancer fights to stay in the US

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Ballet and all of its fans are rallying around one of its members as a dancer's visa is about to expire.

The campaign to keep a local ballet dancer right here in Cincinnati is gaining momentum. This humble and super-talented member of the Cincinnati Ballet company has only days left to prove he's got the right stuff to stay here.

"My name's Liang Fu," said the soft-spoken Corps De Ballet dancer. Or just "Fu," as he is known to his friends at the Cincinnati Ballet.

Fu has just days left to collect more evidence, anything on paper to prove he is extraordinary.

"Everyone wants to dance with him," said Kelly Yankle. "So, when anyone gets to dance with Fu, they're so happy, 'Yay! We get to dance with Fu!'"

Fu's partner Kelly Yankle said they practice 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

"He's super super talented but he's also very humble and very helpful," Yankle said. "A lot of times with male dancers as talented as Fu, maybe they can have a little bit of air, be a little bit conceited."

But not Fu Kelly said. He is a natural.

"Because dancing career is short," said Fu. "That's why we gotta keep dancing!"

Liang Fu was born in China and studied dance there for six years. Then, it was on to dance with companies in Singapore, South Korea and now in Cincinnati.

At 26-years-old, Fu said he's got about 10 more good years left dancing, barring any major injuries, unlike his partner.

"Oh yeah," Yankle said. "I've actually had three surgeries on my ankles so I'm still kickin' though."

Fu said he is amazed at the outpouring of love and support. Three hundred letters so far, from friends to complete strangers, urging politicians and anyone in the government who will listen, to approve his visa.

"I was like, 'wow'!," he exclaimed. "Oh my God, and I went online and everybody commented."

Fu said he would consider becoming an American citizen.

It is that foreign "flavor" that makes the Cincinnati Ballet.

"We have Turkish, Cuban, Chinese," Fu said. "That's what makes the company very unique, because a lot of companies only have American dancers, which is awesome, but if you have other foreign dancers, they bring different styles to the company."

"I'm actually the only girl from Ohio in the company so that should tell you something about our company," Yankle said. "I'm kind of the minority being from Ohio."

"We're trying to get everything we possibly can in," said Susan Jacob, Stage Manager for the Cincinnati Ballet. "Which is why it's wonderful that everybody has come in and stood behind us, we've gotten letters, people, patrons writing-in saying we wanna keep Fu."

Another caveat working in Fu's favor. He was invited to compete in what you might call the Ballet Olympics, or I-B-C. It is a prestigious international competition in June in Jackson, Mississippi.

That will also look good on his record. Fu has until May 27th to get all of his documents in.

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