Skip to main content

Chen, Si-Lan (1909–)

Chen, Si-Lan (1909–)

Chinese concert dancer. Name variations: Si Lan Chen; Si-lan Chen; Si-Lan Chen Leyda. Born 1909 in Trinidad, West Indies, of Chinese parents; father was secretary for Sun Yat-sen and foreign minister of the Canton government; m. Jay Leyda (1910–1988, film historian and scholar).

Pioneer in the use of Chinese elements in dance, moved to London (1912), where she studied at Stedman Academy; joined parents in China and worked under well-known actor Mei-Lan Fang; after Chiang Kai-shek took power, fled with family to Moscow (1927), where she studied at Very Maya's school; worked in plastique with Kasyan Goleizovsky, later becoming an important link between his experiments and American dance forms; studied folk dance in Moscow and gained expert knowledge of Uzbec and Turkistani traditions; immigrated to US where she associated with the New Dance League and began giving concert recitals; works of choreography include Landlord on a Horse (1938), Shanghai Sketches (1938), Two Chinese Women (1938), Chinese Student-Dedication (1938), In Conquered Nanking (1939), and Uzbec Dance (1939); appeared in the film Keys of the Kingdom (1944), among others.

See also memoirs edited by Sally Banes, Footnote to History (Princeton, 1984).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Chen, Si-Lan (1909–)." Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. . 23 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Chen, Si-Lan (1909–)." Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. . (January 23, 2019).

"Chen, Si-Lan (1909–)." Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. . Retrieved January 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.