Shao Jun was born in 1506 in imperial captivity, and was raised to become a Concubine in the Forbidden City. At first she was of lower rank, and was one of many girls who hoped to become a wife of the Emperor. She was taught the traditional arts displayed by the ladies of the imperial court: embroidery, singing and reading, but early on showed exceptional talent for dance and music. Her agility and cat-like discretion fascinated Emperor Zhengde. As he liked abusing his power to humiliate his court, he often used the child Shao Jun as his spy or thief, to stage jokes against eunuchs or even ministers. He also forbid that Shao Jun be foot-bound, so that she didn't lose her dancing abilities; although foot-binding was a key asset to becoming an attractive woman.