Chi Cao's parents were two of Cunxin Li's former teachers at the Beijing Dance Academy. Li wanted Cao to portray him.

Joan Chen and Cunxin Li share similar experiences in life: both were born in 1961, they were picked at a young age to pursue an artistic career and they both came to the United States in 1981.

Schull, Amanda who plays Li's wife Elizabeth--the American dancer who leaves him to audition for the San Francisco Ballet--was herself a member of the SF corps de ballet until she retired in 2006.

Joan Chen is friends with Charles Foster's wife, actress Ye Chen. They worked together in the Shanghai Film Studio. Charles Foster is portrayed in the film by Kyle MacLachlan, who previously worked with Joan Chen in Twin Peaks (1990).