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 Post subject: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2001 1:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<B>Difficult mission becomes reality</B><P>a preview piece from the China Daily via The Financial Times <P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Guangzhou: It could almost be considered a mission impossible. <P>Blending elements of Peking Opera with ballet alone is a formidable task. But adding the life of Mei Lanfang, a complicated and intimidating Peking Opera master, to the mix as well is genuinely unprecedented. <P>The Guangzhou Ballet Company, however, immersed in its new repertoire "Mei Lanfang," is handling the seemingly impossible task with flair. <P>"Mei Lanfang," which is being directed by a top playwright, costume designer, choreographer, composer and dancers, will be the centerpiece of this year's repertoire, said Zhang Dandan, director general of the company.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><BR><A HREF="http://globalarchive.ft.com/globalarchive/article.html?id=010706001999&qqw=78654&query=dance" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><P>Have any of our contributors in Asia seen this Company or heard about them?<p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 07, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2001 8:35 pm 
Strangely this company has never toured Hong Kong. As a Chinese company it's probably not as significant as the National Ballet of China (which will tour USA soon) or the Shanghai Ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2001 11:15 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
I have seen a National Ballet of Guangzhou which turned into just Guangzhou Ballet. About 2 years ago NBG staged what had been Los Angeles Classical Ballet’s “Nutcracker” at California State University, Long Beach. I’ll digress just a second to day that LACB was a small company that was basically the professional component of Long Beach Ballet Arts Center and they used to put on a “Nutcracker” every winter at the Long Beach Civic Auditorium until recently. LBBAC is still there, but no LACB. Their director, David Wilcox, and their ballet mistress, Lisa Marie Goodwin, helped NB Guangzhou stage it and I really liked it. Their dancers are well trained and their principals and soloists quite lyrical and obviously well coached. I was hoping that they’d come back the following year, but they didn’t. I’m not sure if they just borrowed or rented the “Nutcracker” production or if they own them outright (more about this later).<P>Last year, Guangzhou Ballet came to Saddleback College’s McKinney Theater (Mission Viejo, California) to stage 2 performances of their own “Celestial Phoenix..” It’s also called in English, “Silk Fly” for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. “Celestial Phoenix” is a 2 act ballet based on a Chinese folk tale that resembles that of “Firebird.” As I recall, a young man goes into the forest and captures the Phoenix, who like Firebird is a beautiful ballerina. She begs for her freedom and the young man releases her. A passing Emperor is impressed by the young man’s generosity and becomes his patron and eventually marries the Princess to him. In Act II, he becomes something of a spoiled brat and is chastised by the Phoenix. Somewhere in there is a burning forest and the forest animals running away. Sorry, but my memory isn’t that good and I’m not sure where I left the program.<P>The costumes were nice and some of the divertissement were quite beautiful. There was, however, a tendency to meld together traditional Chinese art forms with the ballet and I’m not sure that the results were that successful. For example, there were dances using long ribbons on sticks and so forth. I don’t care for dances that rely upon props in the general sense, and this choreography used a lot of Chinese props. But, much of the divertissement was like divertissement in the Western sense and made the dancers look really fabulous. I remember being very impressed with the quality of their classical training, but I am not a professional critic and rarely catch little slips and mistakes.<P>O yes, I almost forgot to mention about the different English titles. Sometimes the translation from the Chinese words are inconsistent or even rough approximations at best. This happens a lot in Chinese restaurants, for example. Especially the names of many Chinese restaurants in Chinese bears no relation to the Name in English. For example, the popular "Shanghai Restaurants" as they are known in English are actually called, "3-6-9" in Chinese because "3-6-9" are lucky numbers in Chinese culture but would be meaningless in English. But, back to the ballet:<P>Practically the best thing about the performances at the McKinney Theater was the very nice tour Program. For only $10 you could buy an envelope that contained laminated cards like the old lobby cards with pictures of various productions in their rep. Very slick. If you could read Chinese, you could even learn more about each ballet and its performers. There was one card for the company featuring a very artistic portrait of their director, ballerina Zhang Dandan. The card for “Nutcracker” showed the old LACB costumes and sets, which made me wonder if they belong to the GB now. This is what I learned about the company:<P>The company was founded in January 1994 and is located in the vicinity of the Botanical Garden in the Tianhe District of Guangzhou City. Its director is Ms. Zhang Dandan, a former ballerina of the Central Ballet of China. Its dancers are for the most derived from the Beijing Dance Academy. The company lists a wide variety of ballets in its repertory including “Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” “Giselle,” “Silk Fly,” “Anna Karenina,” “R&J,” and “Coppelia.” Also, its list of rep includes shorter works like Corsaire pdd, Esmeralds pdd, “Dying Swan,” and etc. Some of its dancers have won prizes in international competitions, like Ms. Tong Shusheng at a competition in 1996 in Paris and Ms. Guo Fei and Mr. Qui lu at another one in 1997. Other prizes are listed, but I can’t tell where those competitions were.<P>Unfortunately, I don’t know whether GB is planning on another tour to the U.S., but if they come anywhere nearby, I plan to go.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Jeff (edited July 25, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2001 12:35 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Hello Jeff - welcome to the board - it's great to have your input. And thank you for the above information - very interesting. I wish I had known about them when they were in the Los Angeles area, I would have traveled from San Diego to see them.<P>I have been hoping that more of the folk tales of China and other countries in that area will begin to enrich the ballet - give us more material - new ideas - new themes.<P>Once again, thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2001 2:44 am 
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Joined: Mon May 15, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Beijing, PRC
Guangzhou Ballet has a web at <A HREF="http://www.dandanballet.com" TARGET=_blank>http://www.dandanballet.com</A> <BR>But I am afraid that the English version is not ready.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2001 3:47 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
hi Xinxin! Really good to hear from you. Have you seen any interesting ballet recently?


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2001 5:36 pm 
Xinxin, you must have seen the new production by the National Ballet of China - "Raise the Red Lantern". <P>I just found a feature piece on it in the Taipei Times.<BR> <A HREF="http://www.taipeitimes.com/news/2001/07/20/story/0000094923" TARGET=_blank>http://www.taipeitimes.com/news/2001/07/20/story/0000094923</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2001 1:36 am 
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Joined: Mon May 15, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Beijing, PRC
Thanks, Stuart, thanks, Kevin,<BR>Finally I found my password again.<BR>Yes, I saw the world premiere of NBC's Red Lantern a few months ago, but did not enjoy it very much.<BR>Evelyne Hart danced Romeo and Juliet in Beijing a few weeks ago, she looked very old.<BR>Cai Yi Lei came back to China and joined the Shanghai Ballet as a principal dancer. He used to be with Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Scottish Ballet.<BR>FYI.<BR> <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2001 6:34 am 
Xinxin, I remember Cai who was in Hong Kong with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2000. The NBC will perform "Red Lantern" in HK next March.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2001 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 15, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Beijing, PRC
Liu Shi Ning also came back to Beijing, but for holiday only, after ENB tour. We had dinner together. I didn't ask him if he had been promoted principal.


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 Post subject: Re: Guangzhou Ballet Company
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2001 11:01 pm 
I do hope that Liu will be promoted soon to a principal in the ENB. Actually it's been a while since the ENB last toured China.


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