Shanghai Ballet to premier Sleeping Beauty

Shanghai Ballet is set to premier its new "Sleeping Beauty" classical ballet at the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.

Qi Bingxue as Princessn Aurora and Wu Husheng as Prince Désiré in Shanghai Ballet’s new “Sleeping Beauty.”

Shanghai Ballet is set to premier its new “Sleeping Beauty” classical ballet at the Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.

The new production is choreographed and directed by Derek Deane, who also created two of Tchaikovsky’s other classics for Shanghai Ballet, “The Nutcracker” in 2010 and “Swan Lake” in 2015.

“Sleeping Beauty is the most difficult of all the classical ballets. It needs an enormous amount of physical strength and also emotional strength to get through the ballet, and that’s not just for the dancers, that’s for the entire company,” said Deane.

Xin Lili, director of Shanghai Ballet, noted that the company continues to work with Deane on the new Tchaikovsky classic because of his understanding and extreme pursuit of classical ballet, which has helped the company to make rapid progresses.

“Sleeping Beauty is not about one or two lead dancers but the whole experience in the fairytale world, which means all departments must work together toward the one goal of creating the perfect scenes on stage,” said Xin.

Princess Aurora, the lead role in the ballet, will be played by Qi Bingxue, and Wu Husheng will portray Prince Désiré.

The story will feature nearly 50 characters, and Shanghai Ballet now has 80 dancers working round the clock in rehearsals to prepare for the premier.

For the new “Sleeping Beauty,” Shanghai Ballet created nearly 250 costumes and hundreds of accessories, all locally made. Princess Aurora alone will have four magnificent dresses decorated with crystals and laces.

The new ballet has an all-star team.

British composer and conductor Michael England has adapted some chapters of the music to conform to modern aesthetics, and the Olivier-winning British lighting designer Paul Pyant will build the dream-like fairytale world on stage.

Deane has worked with Shanghai Ballet extensively and seen the company grow, especially the emergence of young dancers.

“It’s marvelous to see young dancers coming to the floor and improving, see them really understanding what you are trying to teach them,” said Deane.

“Now the company has changed a lot because there are a lot of talented young dancers who have very big features as dancers.

“It’s good to work with those dancers at a young age and nurture them.”

The ballet will be staged in two acts, and the battle between the good and kind Lilac Fairy and the wicked fairy godmother Carabosse will be a highlight of the show.

Date: May 10-13, 7:30pm

Tickets: 80-680 yuan

Venue: Shanghai International Dance Center, Grand Theater

Address: 1605 Hongqiao Rd

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