Renowned for his effervescent personality and entrepreneurial passion, Ronnie Li (in some quarters he’s called “Typhoon Ronnie”) is one of the best-loved names in the world of ballroom dancing. But you won’t see his dazzling smile on the dance floor.
Sure, at one time he had a go at competing, but he figured that his skills were better deployed in generating ideas and making things happen. Nowadays, based squarely on the business side of the footlights, he’s best known as Managing Director of the hugely successful Chrisanne Clover, the dernier mot in the global world of dance couture.
Introduced to the world of dance in China by his uncle, China’s ballroom star Philip Li, Ronnie grew up in Shanghai. After graduating from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1995, he moved to London, where he developed business management skills at the dancewear company, Choice London. It was during this period that he had the great good fortune to meet his wife Maika, a top ballroom dancer in Japan. Last, but not least, he also learnt how to embellish dresses!
Ronnie Li’s first solo venture, Crystal Clover, had humble beginnings at a flat in Norbury, on the outskirts of London, but quickly spilled over into a shop nearby. In 2008, Crystal Clover Japan was born. By 2015, Ronnie Li had acquired Chrisanne, one of the best-known brands in the world of ballroom dance; the two businesses merged to form Chrisanne Clover, a sparkling union that brought together innovation, knowledge, and heritage. In June the following year, the first Chrisanne Clover flagship store opened its doors in Shanghai.
Prior to the merger, Chrisanne and Swarovski had already enjoyed a 25-year partnership, creating costumes with mesmerizing stage impact. Now, boosted by the effect of the combined brands’ expertise, this unstoppable company’s dancewear is going from strength to strength. “You can never have too many crystals,” says Chrisanne Clover’s designer, Natalie Watterson: “Crystals create little bursts of light, like a hundred camera flashes. The way they refract the light means our dancers can be seen across the entire floor—and, of course, clever use of stones enhance and sculpt a body, accentuating the line.”
Ronnie Li lives by the mantra: “Do what you love. Throw yourself into it fully. Keep improving, and—above all—make sure you have fun!” His dream for Chrisanne Clover is to be a trendsetter and dream-maker, and extend the company’s market leadership with flagship stores across the globe. “Expect lots of excitement, activity, and movement!” he says cheerfully. Somehow, knowing this irrepressible maverick, we don’t doubt it for one moment!