CriticalDance Forum

Raise the Red Lantern
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Author:  shazna [ Tue May 08, 2001 3:43 am ]
Post subject:  Raise the Red Lantern

<B>Lantern Raises Storm</B><P>BEIJING - Chinese film-maker Zhang Yimou caused controversy here last week with a daring ballet, inspired by his film, Raise the Red Lantern, which fuses for the first time several Chinese arts, including Beijing opera.The two-hour ballet, titled Raise the Red Lantern, ended in Beijing on Sunday but opens in Shanghai at the end of this month.<P>Following the film's tale of a young woman in early 1900s China who comes to terms with her life as Wife No.4 in a landowner's house, it mixes classical ballet with Chinese opera and passages of theatre. It led to diverse opinion about its mix of Chinese tradition and modernity.<P>"The dances are scrappy and few of them leave the audience with a strong impression," said Mr Feng Shuangbai, director of the Institute of the Search for Dance, in the China Daily newspaper.<P>However the daily newspaper of Beijing's youth commented on the visual success of the show and noted that an "international team had interpreted a Chinese tradition".<P>To these, Zhang, 50, said: "I wanted to mix the genres in order to create a new show. There are some who are fiercely against it - mainly amateurs of classical dance - who say that it is not ballet. But equally there are those who do not know dance and who liked the show, the colours, the scenery, the plot.<P>"I don't know dance, but I have found that the combination of ballet and Beijing opera is a good solution, because I was always interested in the traditional Chinses arts and am sensitive to colours."<P>Zhang, who hopes to take the ballet overseas was invited by the National Ballet of China to stage the show, which is choreographed by German-based Wan Xinpeng. <P>- The Straits Times (Singapore daily)<P><BR>There was a rather lovely picture which I wish I could have included, but our newspaper does not have an online version.

Author:  Basheva [ Tue May 08, 2001 5:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Raise the Red Lantern

Great description, Shazna...thank you. In the West opera has often included ballet, so why not have ballet include opera? Makes sense to me.<P>I wish the National Ballet of China would tour.

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Tue May 08, 2001 5:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Raise the Red Lantern

Basheva, apparently the NBC will tour America - Houston and Minneapolis - in Sept. with "La Sylphide" and the Chinese ballet "Yellow River".

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Fri Feb 22, 2002 12:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Raise the Red Lantern

There is a features piece in this weekend's "Asian Wall Street Journal" on the National Ballet of China's Red Lantern, which will be performed in Hong Kong next month. The piece is written by their Beijing correspondent Sheila Melvin.<BR> <A HREF=",,SB1014344182477268840.djm,00.html" TARGET=_blank>,,SB1014344182477268840.djm,00.html</A> <P><B>Stuart adds</B>: Thanks for this Kevin. Readers should note that The Asian Wall St. Journal is only available to fee-paying subscribers.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited February 22, 2002).]

Author:  Azlan [ Thu Mar 14, 2002 6:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Raise the Red Lantern

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>"Red Lantern" director Zhang won't join rush to Hollywood<P>Carrie Lee, Reuters on Yahoo!<P>...<P>Zhang spoke to reporters this week while in Hong Kong to direct the ballet "Raise the Red Lantern," which tells a similar story to the director's award-winning film of the same title in 1991.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href= target=_blank>More</a>

Author:  Malcolm Tay [ Sat Nov 02, 2002 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Raise the Red Lantern

Review of Raise the Red Lantern in Singapore's Business Times:

November 2, 2002
By Cheah Ui-Hoon
An epic let-down

An adaptation of Zhang's 1991 movie of the same name, and based on the novel Wives and Concubines by Su Tong, one had hoped the ballet would have received similar artistic treatment to the award-winning movie.

Instead, it suffered from overly-literal staging and stiff choreography that didn't do justice to the simple but resonant story of complex emotions laden with political and feminist issues.
[link is now dead]

<small>[ 11-13-2002, 09:17: Message edited by: Malcolm Tay ]</small>

Author:  Misa_danseuse [ Wed Nov 13, 2002 9:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Raise the Red Lantern

A review by CD's very own Malcolm Tay!

From the Flying Inkpot:

RAISE THE RED LANTERN is not the National Ballet of China’s newest production – that would be Ben Stevenson’s ‘The Fountain of Tears’, which premiered in China last month – but it is perhaps the company’s most challenging work thus far. Set in 1930s China, it is a simplified, romanticised version of Zhang Yimou’s film, a sumptuous theatrical spectacle that tells a tragic love story. I don't think the ballet was ever meant to recreate the film’s searing socio-political commentary.
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<small>[ 11-13-2002, 23:01: Message edited by: Admin ]</small>

Author:  Malcolm Tay [ Thu Jan 02, 2003 8:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Raise the Red Lantern

Review in The Arts Magazine:

Vibrant, lavish, luscious, rich red and gold layers of colour could not save the rigid, blandness of the choreography in this epic work, Raise the Red Lantern performed by the Chinese National Ballet. The filmic expanse of the staging was a stark contrast to the restrictive movement danced with military precision by the company. They maneuvered strategically in and out of lines; the restricting pointe shoes strangely echoing the traditional platform shoes worn by the Chinese Opera performers. Freedom of movement was severely limited in this work as it stuck steadfast to the sequential narrative, curbing creativity in both the physical and emotional sense. Sensuality finally came about in the tragic ending of the story. Here the three protagonists in white danced a liquid trio in a Balanchine like patterning of form, physicality and emotion that transcended the previous staccato impulses of the other sections.
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