Shanghai Ballet to keep locals on their toes for the season

Xu Qin
Shanghai Ballet has selected 11 productions from the company's original repertoire for its 2022 season, with 80 performances to be staged in seven theaters.
Xu Qin

Shanghai Ballet has selected 11 productions from the company's original repertoire for its 2022 season, with 80 performances to be staged in seven theaters.

The programs include Western classical renditions like "Giselle" and "The Nutcracker," contemporary ballets like "A Sign of Love" and "The Last Mission of Marco Polo," and dance dramas themed on China's revolutionary history.

The classical ballet "Swan Lake" is the first in the pipeline with performances scheduled for March 18 to 22 at the Shanghai International Dance Center's Grand Theater. It premiered in 2015 to mark the legendary ballet's 120th anniversary. Derek Deane, a British choreographer, proposed a group of 48 swans dancing together in a pool, which was never done before.

"The White-Haired Girl," a dance drama set during Japan's war of invasion against China, is the next in the queue. The plot revolves around a young girl named Xi'er, the daughter of a poor farmer in Shaanxi Province, whose family is being harassed by a cruel landlord. It was one of the first ballet productions in China, first produced in 1964 by the Shanghai Dance School and incorporated Chinese traditional dance into ballet performances.

Shanghai Ballet to keep locals on their toes for the season
Ti Gong

Classical ballet "Swan Lake"

Shanghai Ballet to keep locals on their toes for the season
Ti Gong

Modern ballet "A Sign of Love"

In April and May, two more revolution-themed ballets, "Bright Red Star" and "The Burning Youth," will be performed at theaters in the city's suburban Fengxian and Jiading districts. Both ballets, which have been performed in recent years, pay tribute to patriotic youth and the Yan'an Spirit (the spirit of self-reliance).

In May, the one-act ballet "A Journey with No Bound" will debut at the Shanghai International Dance Center. It will run for four nights. Directed by Xin Lili, head of the Shanghai Ballet, and choreographed by the troupe's principal dancer Wu Husheng, the work is "a tribute to all artists who dare to break through traditions and set off new waves of thought in every era," according to Xin.

Shanghai Ballet to keep locals on their toes for the season
Chen Wen

Xin Lili, head of the Shanghai Ballet

"The Lady of Camellias" and "Romeo and Juliet" will run from October to December and mark the end of the season.

Shanghai Ballet will also participate in major art projects and festivals, including the 2022 Shanghai Spring International Music Festival and the China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

"Ballet is not only graceful and romantic, but also vibrant. Shanghai-style ballet is rooted in the soil, thanks to the efforts of generations of dancers," Xin said. "We hope to cap the 2022 season with our successes in artistic and creative research, as well as introducing youthful blood and talent to the dance circle."

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