Over 2m viewers watch online dance evaluation

Ma Yue
Shanghai Dance Theater yesterday live broadcast its annual assessment online to the public for the first time. Viewership peaked as principal dancer Zhu Jiejing took the stage.
Ma Yue

An annual dancing assessment organized by Shanghai Dance Theater attracted more than 2 million viewers during its first online public broadcast.

The assessment was held yesterday morning, which marked International Dance Day. Ten minutes after it started, over 1.5 million viewers already logged onto the theater’s livestreaming room. The viewership reached a peak of over 2 million when principal dancer Zhu Jiejing made her appearance.

The theater has held its assessment every year since 2008 to evaluate the skills of its dancers. This was the first time the event was made accessible to online viewers.

“The novel coronavirus epidemic was like a pause button on the theater’s operation,” said Chen Feihua, director of Shanghai Dance Theater. “But our dancers never stopped training.”

According to Chen, this year’s assessment raised the difficulty level compared with previous years. The dancers had to wear masks during the event, which was a challenge to their stamina.

“The annual assessment has been spurring us on, reminding us to train hard,” said Zhu. As a veteran dancer, Zhu said she felt “a bit nervous” about the live broadcast.

“Each viewer can become a judge and evaluate a dancer’s skills,” said Zhu. “There are no stage settings, lights, costumes or plots. We are presenting ourselves as pure dancers.”

Zhu, 35, became a household name this year after making an appearance on the Spring Festival Gala of China Central Television. The outbreak of the coronavirus led to the cancellation of her scheduled “Crested Ibis” tour to Japan in late February.

Shanghai Dance Theater also canceled the national tour of its award-winning “The Eternal Wave,” which was scheduled in May.

But dancers have been training at the theater since early March. Zhu and her dancing partner Wang Jiajun created a six-minute piece entitled “Farewell.” The dance is a tribute to medical staff, reminding people to cherish each other.

Over 2m viewers watch online dance evaluation
Ti Gong

Shanghai Dance Theater's principal Zhu Jiejing (center) takes part in the assessment.

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