was born in Tainan, an ancient city in south-western Taiwan, in 1980. Dance has been part of her life as long as she can remember. At the age of six, she began to take lessons in a small private dance studio. When she was nine, she heard about a school where dance was part of the curriculum. She applied – without telling her parents about it – and was accepted. “My parents were worried about my future, thinking I would never find a job. So as a teenager I had to give them written confirmation that I alone, not they, would be responsible for my professional future”, she says with a smile.
After school, she studied at the Taipei National University of the Arts for five years, an institution where many different art forms are taught. A Taiwanese choreographer told her about the Folkwang School (today Folkwang University of the Arts) in Essen. “Even before then, I had wanted to be part of the international dance scene”, says Tsai-Chin Yu. Seeing a performance of Kontakthof in Taipei intensified her desire. “The movements I saw there were not dance movements that I had learnt. There was so much life in them.” She applied to the Folkwang School and was accepted, studying there from 2003 to 2008. In her final year in Essen, she was invited to dance in The Rite of Spring. During a tour to Japan in 2007, she summed up the courage to speak to Pina Bausch after a performance and tell her that she wanted to join her company. In 2008, the long-awaited call came from Wuppertal. A year before Pina Bausch’s death, Tsai-Chin Yu had the opportunity to travel to Chile with the ensemble for a research trip and to create the piece "…como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si…" with Pina Bausch – an important experience for her. Because of back pains, she had to spend the first two weeks of rehearsals lying on the studio floor. She had time to watch the others: “I created my dance in my head first.” Inspiration for the scene with the rope came to her during a rehearsal at the Schauspielhaus. She found it lying at the side of the stage and tied it around herself, exploring what it was like to want to run away but not be able to. She had been inspired by a woman in Chile who had told the dancers about her experiences in prison. Pina Bausch liked the idea and it became a distinctive scene in the Chile-piece.
After Pina Bausch’s death, Tsai-Chin Yu knew that she wanted to remain in the company: “There is still so much to learn. So many pieces that I haven’t danced yet, and each piece grows within you over the years.” Today, Tsai-Chin Yu has danced in 20 of Pina Bausch’s pieces, including the role of Judith in “Bluebeard”.