Janie Yao was born in Shanghai, China where she lived with her grandparents while growing up. When she was around 8, she immigrated to Houston to live with her parents. She helped her mom at dance school throughout high school and trained with the Houston Ballet. She went on to major in dance performance for her college degree. Afterwards, she helped establish Dance of Asian America (DAA) and currently is the director of DAA. She also led a group of dancers to the quarter finals of America’s Got Talent Season 8. Under her direction, DAA exposes Chinese culture to over 50,000 people annually through over 50 free public performances and educational programs.
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