CriticalDance Forum

Ballet in Asia 2000
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Dec 14, 2000 8:43 am ]
Post subject:  Ballet in Asia 2000

Please continue the discussion (begun in the Northern Ballet Theatre thread) on ballet in Tokyo and elsewhere in Asia here. My impression is that the ballet audience base has seen exponential growth (with little sign of abatement) over the past 25 years or so. Would anyone care to comment on how this phenomenon developed and where it might lead?

<small>[ 23 November 2003, 08:36 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Dec 14, 2000 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Francis, many thanks for seeting this up. I thought it might be useful to copy part of the original duscussion over here to set the ball rolling:<P>****************************************<P>Kevin Ng Member posted December 12, 2000 18:58 <P>Yes, there's increasing demand for ballet in China, unlike here in Hong Kong. (ABT's season here wasn't a big commercial success, e.g., though it was an artistic triumph for the company and the local dance scene.) Dance Theatre of Harlem just toured China last month as well. The advantage of China is that it has the largest population in the world. But I still think that Tokyo is the ballet capital in Asia, if not in the world.<P>Azlan Administrator posted December 13, 2000 14:09 <P>Kevin,<P>quote:<P>'But I still think that Tokyo is the ballet capital in Asia, if not in the world.'<P>What would make Tokyo a contender for the ballet capital of the world? Is it sheer number of companies or patrons?<P>Kevin Ng Member posted December 13, 2000 17:51 <P>Azlan, Tokyo gets more touring from the world's top companies and stars than New York, e.g. And this year, I remember that the Japanese audiences have seen Vladimir Malakhov, Sylvie Guillem, Carlos Acosta, Svetlana Lunkina, Nicolas Le Riche etc. guesting with the Japanese companies. And I heard that Vladimir Malakhov gets paid far more in Japan than in New York, as the Japanese impresarios are very generous financially.<P>Their visiting companies this year include the Kirov (4 weeks), La Scala, New York City Ballet etc. Last summer there were several galas including the World Ballet Festival which featured many of the top names in the business.<P>Azlan Administrator posted December 13, 2000 22:17 <P>Thanks for the info, Kevin. So, I guess it is the high demand and appreciation that ballet gets in Tokyo that makes it a serious contender for the top city for ballet.<P>I wonder how many other cities there are like that.<P>Basheva Moderator posted December 14, 2000 08:23 <P>Kevin - that is very interesting. I never realized it. I would like to ask how is the ballet doing amongst the population? I mean how is ballet doing in a national company in Japan? With Japanese home grown talent?<BR>

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Thu Dec 14, 2000 4:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Basheva, there are a number of ballet companies in Japan. I've been informed by my Japanese friends of one in particular - the New National Theatre Ballet which was founded 3 years ago, which has already built up a very large repertory consisting of the classics, some Balanchine, and Ashton's "Cinderella". And they regularly invite guest stars from abroad, e.g. Svetlana Lunkina, Carlos Acosta, Amanda McKerrow. You can see their performance schedule here.<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P>I often wish I could live in Japan instead of Hong Kong, where thankfully the local dance scene this year has been graced by the tours of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and the ABT.

Author:  Basheva [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 6:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Kevin - thank you for that information. I was wondering about the quality of the home grown dancers? I suppose if they are dancing Balanchine, they must be of very good quality indeed. <P>It has always fascinated me how fantastically the Japanese have embraced some Western art forms - symphonic music - violin, piano, and now ballet to name just a couple. <P>I wonder if they also see this as a threat to their own wonderful and very unique art forms?

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 7:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Actually the Japanese embrace ballet and other Western arts far more than the Chinese, and I think they see Western culture as a complement to their national culture instead of as a threat. As for their home-grown dancers, the ex-Royal ballet star Tetsuya Kumakawa and the Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Kaori Nakamura are two examples of Japanese dancers who have become prominent in the West.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 7:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Here in the UK, there are a number of Japanese dancers who are making their mark. Perhaps the most successful is Miyako Yoshida, who is arguably the most technically gifted ballerina in the RB today and is a heart breaking Juliet. 'Teddy' Kumakawa is similarly gifted and the two of them together in the Don Q grand pdd was something else. He now runs his own company in Japan with 4 of his mates from the RB and guest ballerinas such as Viviana Durante. He is reputed to have pop star status in Japan and tickets for his company, at astronomic prices, sell out on the first day. In Japan, they like their ballet! <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited December 15, 2000).]

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 7:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

You are right about Kumakawa, Stuart. He has become quite powerful in the Japanese dance world. I heard that it was Kumakawa who was responsible for securing the Japanese tour next year for the English National Ballet, who has in turn invited him (and Viviana Durante) to guest in London this Christmas season.<P>Hu Xinxin reported today in on the Kirov's Japan tour. <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <p>[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited December 15, 2000).]

Author:  Basheva [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 4:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Just out of curiousity I looked through my Anna Pavlova treasure trove and found that she had visited and very enjoyed dancing in Japan - and they enjoyed her very much. I wonder if this was the first contact between ballet and Japan?<P>In many places around the world she was the first ambassador of this art form - all through the Moslem world, India, etc. She planted many seeds - I wonder if what is happening in Japan now is one of them?<P>

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 6:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Basheva, how interesting! I hadn't thought of that. Actually Anna Pavlova performed in Hong Kong as well (then a British colony), from what I remember from a local history book. But unfortunately the growth of ballet in Hong Kong wasn't due to her, as it only started in the 1970s. (I don't know however if Pavlova ever performed in China though!)

Author:  Basheva [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 8:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

I just did a little research and Pavlova was in Japan in 1922 - and she was also in China!! She was in Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Her audiences in Japan were as big as 3000 people. She was also in the Phillipines and New Zealand. <P>When you consider the mode of travel in those days - no planes - it is all really quite remarkable.

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Fri Dec 15, 2000 11:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Yes, Basheva, it's really remarkable that Pavlova could travel even to China in those days without air transport. Shanghai was the most Westernised Chinese city at that time, so it makes sense to me that she chose to perform there instead of Beijing.

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Fri Dec 22, 2000 5:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Another view of the Kirov's Japan tour, from Naoko on <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

Author:  Basheva [ Fri Dec 22, 2000 5:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

I wonder if the National Ballet Theater (Japan) will be touring? Will we get to see them? <P>I would also like to see the ballet companies from China tour the USA. I remember from the tape I saw of them (that Mrs. Pat Nixon brought back) they were quite spectacular.

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Sat Dec 23, 2000 2:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

Apparently the National Ballet of China will tour America next year, according to Hu Xinxin a short while ago. As for the Japanese companies, Tokyo Ballet tours the most. I also hope to see more Japanese ballet companies, which unfortunately don't even seem to tour much within Asia.

Author:  Basheva [ Sat Dec 23, 2000 5:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ballet in Asia 2000

I hope, Kevin, that the National Ballet of China comes somewhere near where I can see them.<P>I wonder if the Japanese companies don't tour much because of economic reasons? <P>I have another question, - hope you don't mind? Do the ballet audiences in Japan honor "foriegn prophets" more? As often happens elsewhere, do the Japanese audiences think that foreign, i.e. Western companies would be better simply because this is a basically Western art form? Just as for so many years audiences here thought that all ballet dancers HAD to be Russian to have any credibility.<P>

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