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NATIONAL BALLET OF CHINA

FENG YING, Director rand Artistic Director

Founded on 31 December 1959, the National Ballet of China is China's only national ballet company. Its dancers and musicians are all graduates from professional dance academies and music conservatories across China.

Since the first day it was founded, the company has received continuous support from the Chinese government. In its early days, Russian ballet master Pyotr Gusev and other Russian teachers helped laid a solid foundation for the company using their experience in the Russian School of classical ballet.

For more than 40 years, the National Ballet of China has introduced many outstanding classical ballets and contemporary ballet works to the Chinese audience. At the same time, it has attached great importance to creating a unique fusion between western classical ballet and Chinese culture. They have achieved this by creating their own ballets, which represents the varied characteristics of the Chinese nation.

Today, the company has a broad repertoire and has successfully trained many generations of outstanding artists. Through international cultural exchange, The National Ballet of China has attracted the attention of the international ballet world.

In March 2009, Feng Ying becomes the new Director and Artistic Director of National Ballet of China following Zhao Ruheng.

BALLET NATIONAL DE CHINE

Programs

EPOUSES ET CONCUBINES - RAISE THE RED LANTERN

Word Premiere: 2 May 2001- The National Ballet of China, Tianqiao Theatre, Beijing

A Ballet in three acts, adapted from the novel by Su Tong

 

Director and Art Director : Zhang Yimou

Composer : Qigang Chen

Choreographers : Xinpeng Wang, Wang Yuan Yuan

Stage Designer : Zeng Li

Costume Designer : Jérôme Kaplan

Lighting Designer : Zhang Yimou

Producer and Supervisor General : Zhao Ruheng

Length : 1h30 

After the huge success in the spectacular staging of the opera Turandot in Florence (1997) and Beijing (1998), internationally-acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou, joins forces with the National Ballet of China on his second stage venture – Raise the Red Lantern, the ballet.

 

Su Tong’s novel Raise the Red Lantern, was adpated by Zhang Yimou into an award winning film of the same title. This new adaptation in the form of a balet depicts the plight of a woman who is forced through circumstances to become a concubine of a wealthy man. A star-crossed secret love between the concubine and an opera actor and jealousy from the other concubine lead to tragic consequences. Zhang Yimou and China’s premier ballet company stage the drama with sensitivity and dazzling visual beauty.

Other distinguish artists join in . Germany based Wang Xinpeng who has worked with different European companies, is the choreographer. The music comes from Chen Qigang, who is currently Artistic Consultant of Cite de la Musique, Paris. French stage – costume designer Jérôme Kaplan creates exquisite costumes for the dancers.

The spectacular production is a milestone of collaboration between artists in China and Europe. Audiences will also be amazed to see Beijing opera brought ingeniously to the ballet stage.

LE DETACHEMENT FEMININ ROUGE - THE RED DETACHMENT OF WOMEN

Created in 1964


Script : team work of an adaptation from the film of same name directed by Zhe Jun and screenplay by Liang Xin

Choreographers : Li Chenxiang, Jiang Zuhui, Wang Xixian

Music : Wu Zuqiang, Du Mingxin, Da Hongwei, Shi Wanchun, Wang Yanqiao

Composer of Song of the Detachment of Women : Huang Zhun

Length : 2h20 with intermission

The Red Detachment of  Women is a Chinese ballet which premiered in 1964. It is perhaps best known in the West as the ballet performed for President Nixon on his visit to China in 1972. Based on the novel of the same title as well as the film adapted from the novel by Liang Xin, it depicts the liberation of a peasant girl in Hainan Island and her rise in the Communist Party. The ballet was later adapted to a Beijing opera, and as the ballet itself, both stage and film versions were produced.

 

The film version of the ballet made Xue Jinghua (as Wu Qinghua) and Liu Qingtang (as Hong Changqing) superstars along with a dozen other artists who were cast as protagonists in other model plays of the time.

It is one of the so-called eight model plays, the only plays, ballets and operas permitted in China during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). With The White Haired Girl it is regarded as a classic Chinese ballet, and its music is familiar to almost every Chinese person who grew up during that time. It was made into a film in 1972 and is now part of the permanent repertoire of the National Ballet of China.

 

Despite its political overtone and historical background when it was created, it remains a favorite of music and ballet lovers nearly 30 years after the Cultural Revolution in China. Many numbers were based on the folk songs of Hainan Island, a place that, with its coconut trees rustling in tropical wind, evokes much romantic ethos. Though there are unmistakable elements of Chinese music, the music of this ballet was performed with basically a Western symphony orchestra.

LE LAC DES CYGNES - SWAN LAKE

National Ballet of China Premiere: 30 April 2007, Tianqiao Théâtre, Beijing

A Ballet in Three Acts

 

Production conceived & directed : Natalia Makarova

Choreography : Natalia Makarova after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov

Additional Choreography : Natalia Makarova and Sir Frederick Ashton

Music : Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Set Design : Peter Farmer

Costume Design : Galina Solovyeva

Staged : Olga Evreinoff

Swan Lake is the first Western classical ballet which was accepted by Chinese audiences.  Nearly 50 years ago, in 1958, the National Ballet of China premiered Swan Lake. Generations of Swan Lake casts have laid the foundation for the history of Chinese ballet:  The dream that we have been pursuing is to perform a Swan Lake which is pure, classical and contemporary.  Natalia Makarova is an amazing artist who delicately and dramatically portrays the image of the Swan Queen; she is, quite possibly, the most outstanding to ever take on the role. Inviting her to China will help us realize our dream.

It's not an exaggeration to say that Makarova's attention to detail is unsurpassed. By reinventing the concept of rehearsals, she hopes to free our Swan Queens from the ordinary. Encouraging our dancers to utilize different physical efforts, she has enabled the fusion of movements to Tchaikovsky's beautiful music and has created a completely new classical, pure and personified Swan Queen.  This is yet another reward for the restaging of Swan Lake.

In short, in selecting Makarova, the National Ballet of China has selected the essence of ballet.  In selecting the National Ballet of China, Makarova has selected the future of ballet. We are honoured to be able to collaborate with such a great ballet artist, and we are confident that we are presenting to Chinese ballet lovers a true Swan Lake of the Russian School.

LE PAVILLON AUX PIVOINES - PEONY PAVILLION

Word Premiere : May 2nd 2008, The National Ballet of China, Tianqiao Theatre, Beijing


Producer : Zhao Ruheng

Adaptation and Director : Li Liuyi

Composer and Arranger : Guo Wenjing

Music : Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel

Choreographer : Feio Bo

Stage designer : Michael Simon

Costume designer : Emi Wada

Lighting designer : Michael Simon and Han Jiang

“Peony Pavilion" was written by Tang Xianju in 1598, at the era of the Ming Dynasty. It is the love story of Du Li-niang, who falls in love with a man she meets in a dream and then pines away when she is unable to recapture the enchantment of that dream. It has a happy ending, but not before facing ghosts, a trip to hell, life-risking adventure and all the other good elements of a romance. The National Ballet of China is going to turn this famous Chinese opera “Peony Pavilion" into the field of ballet, aiming at looking for and presenting the Oriental Du Liniang’s feeling through the western style of ballet.

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