Born in Jilin, China, Jin Yao trained at the Beijing Dance Academy before joining The National Ballet of China in 1997 and becoming Principal Dancer in 2003. She joined Hong Kong Ballet as a Senior Soloist in 2004 and was named Principal Dancer in 2005. She assumed the additional role of Assistant Ballet Mistress for the Company in 2017.

With Hong Kong Ballet, Jin has danced principal roles in Stephen Jefferies’ and John Meehan’s Swan Lake, Cynthia Harvey’s The Sleeping Beauty, Stephen Jefferies’ and John Meehan’s Giselle, Stephen Jefferies’ and Terence Kohler’s The Nutcracker, Ronald Hynd’s Coppélia, Pär Isberg’s Pinocchio, David Allan’s Cinderella, Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo and Juliet, Irek Mukhamedov’s Spartacus, Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow, Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, Antony Tudor’s Jardin aux Lilas, Natalie Weir’s Turandot and Madama Butterfly, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Themes and Variations, among others.

Prior to joining the Company, she has performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, The Four Temperaments, and Who Cares?, Harald Lander’s Etudes, Li Chengxiang, Jiang Zuhui and Wang Xixian’s The Red Detachment of Women and Kitri in Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote. She was also featured as second wife in Zhang Yimou’s Raise the Red Latern choreographed by Wang Xin Peng. As a cultural ambassador for Hong Kong Ballet, Jin has represented the Company at the Opening Gala of 1st China International Ballet Season in 2013, International Ballettgala XI in Dortmund, Germany in 2012, the 4th International Ballet Festival in Cali, Colombia in 2010, amongst others. She has also performed in Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow with The Australian Ballet in 2011. Jin was named Best Artist of the Year in the dance category at the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards 2010. She received the Hong Kong Dance Award 2007 for her performance in George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deuxand Stephen Jefferies’ Giselle. She was honoured as a China’s National Class One Performer in 2003 and was a recipient of the Career Outstanding Contribution Award from the Cultural Ministry of China in 2001 and 2002. Jin won a gold medal at Varna International Ballet Competition in 2002 and a bronze prize at the Shanghai International Ballet Competition in 2001.