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 Post subject: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2000 4:05 pm 
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interesting article in time magazine. beijing and shanghai are vying to be the cultural center of china. ballet is mentioned near the bottom of page 1 of the article<P><BR> <A HREF="http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,44026,00.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,44026,00.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2000 10:35 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I've copied this post and the one below from other topics, as it is intriguing that there have been three articles about dance and the arts in China in the period of a couple of days.<P> Image <P>A review of a Beijing performance of Ballets de Monte Carlo's 'Romeo and Juliet'. Hu Xinxin tells us that ballet is much appreciated in Beijing, but less so in Shanghai. <P>As we heard when the Royal Ballet were touring there, one of the pitfalls of touring China is the standard of the local orchestras - it was too expensive to take the Orchestra of the ROH. I wonder how Monte Carlo managed.<P> <A HREF="http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/697.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/happening/697.html</A> <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2000 10:46 pm 
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Image <P>Guangdong Modern Dance Company<P><BR>Two reviews of a contemporary dance company from China. As Donald Hutera tells us: 'Formed in 1992, Guangdong Modern Dance Company is a fresh embodiment of that cliché "East meets West". One of China's first professional contemporary troupes, the 11-member ensemble made their British debut at the Brighton Festival last week.'<P>Both reviewers are <u>very</u> impresssed with the dancers and enjoy some of the work.<P>Do Chinese companies visit Australia or the States?<BR> <A HREF="http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/reviews/story/0,3604,221282,00.html" TARGET=_blank>www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/reviews/story/0,3604,221282,00.html</A> <BR> <P><A HREF="http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/00/05/16/timartdan01001.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/tim/00/05/16/timartdan01001.html</A> <P>Here is the link to the dance section of The Brighton Festival <BR> <A HREF="http://www.brighton-festival.org.uk/listings.asp?artform=dance" TARGET=_blank>http://www.brighton-festival.org.uk/listings.asp?artform=dance</A> <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited May 16, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2000 8:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 15, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Beijing, PRC
Thanks, Stuart, for the info.<BR>I'd like to post another piece about the difference between the two cities. I like the new museum and the theater in Shanghai very much. I think the best thing in Shanghai is that you can enjoy more and better opera productions than in Beijing, (and tickets are much cheaper there). It owes a lot to Prof. Zhou Xiaoyan. Prof. Zhou studied voice in France in her early days, and became teacher at Shanghai Conservatory and trained many good singers, among them was Zhang Jianyi (Tenor), who invited her to USA to witness his Met debut (Faust, with R.Fleming as Marguriete) a couple of years ago. Prof. Zhou is working very hard to train more singers and to bring more opera productions to Shanghai. Because of this, we go to Shanghai very often. The Shanghai Grand Theater is really a lovely theater. But I never like the audience there. They dress up and go to the theater, but not for the wonderful performances but to show their own dresses. They are quieter than the people in Beijing, but just can not enjoy the arts. Last Oct. when Mr. V. Gergiev conducted Mahler Third in Shanghai with Kirov Orchestra, only 1000 seats (out of 1800) were occupied. <P>Here is my piece about what happened when Kirov Ballet did Swan Lake there:<P>Shanghai Grand Theater is a nice theater indeed. But the audience in Shanghai is not as good as its theater, because its reaction to the stage is too cold. No mater how great the performance is, the audience only give some polite applause (no Bravi, of course). In the second night (of Kirov Ballet), when I shouted "Bravo Igor" after the Act3 male variation (My seat was very close to the stage: only 3 rows from the conductor), the man sat next to me said: "Don't you feel tired? You have shouted too much. Look, no one in this theater shouts like you." Theaters in Beijing are basically worse than Shanghai, but I like the Beijing audience more. They really like ballet and enthusiastically applaud (or even scream) for any great scenes. There are more than 2700 seats in Beijing Exhibition Center Theater and the tickets for Kirov were very expensive (the price of a VIP seat was higher than local average monthly income). But I heard that the Kirov tickets were sold very well. (Even the tickets for the third performance by V. Part and I.Kuznetsov were totally sold out). <P><p>[This message has been edited by Xinxin (edited May 19, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2000 12:16 am 
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Xinxin, many thanks for your fascinating views on the differences between theatre going in Beijing and Shanghai. Presumably this rivalry occurs in other fields as well? Are there other Chinese cities that are important for domestic or visiting dance companies?<P>Rest assured if you and I were sitting side by side we would be competing for who shouted their approval the loudest. I sometimes get 'looks' from more restrained audience members, as well. But after all, the dancers work hard to provide an extraordinary experience for us, so it only seems fair to let them know our approval as clearly as possible. <P>We will always be delighted to hear from you about your dance experiences in China.


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2000 5:37 pm 
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Xinxin, thanks for your first-hand comments. But I had the impression that Shanghai was in many ways the cultural incubator in China. Aren't many Chinese ballerinas from Shanghai? If so, isn't it because Shanghainese are more pro-arts?


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2000 8:56 pm 
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Location: Beijing, PRC
To Stuart:<BR>The rivalry occurs definitely in any field, especially in sports. It's always like a battle when the soccer teams of the two cities meet in the national league.<BR>There are 5 professional ballet companies in PRC, but the National Ballet of China is the best one. It's the only ballet company ever has the contract with Shanghai Grand Theater. Guangzhou Modern Dance Company is very famous in PRC, but I think people in Guangzhou are always too busy to make money and have no time to enjoy arts. The National Ballet is traveling quite frequently in the country. It currently visiting Chengdu (the Capital OF Sichuan Province) and Chongqing, with sold-out performances of Swan Lake (and mixed bill). But generally saying, ballet is not very well known in many provincial places. <P>To Grace:<BR>I don't like high price at all. I f it was in Shanghai, no one would buy the tickets.<P>To Azlan:<BR>Yes, you are quite right. There is a very nice ballet school in Shanghai. But the one in Beijing is also very good. There are many wonderful dancers, such as Tan Yuan Yuan, Chen Yan, Cai Yilei, and so and so from Shanghai, now dancing for the western companies. I don't think it's a bad thing, if our domestic companies are flexible enough to invite them back to guest here. But the local company in Shanghai (called Shanghai Ballet)can not keep its artistic level because of this. That's why the Shanghai Grand Theater invite the Beijing based National Ballet(the company is suffering the similar problem of course, but it still keeps its best ballerina in the company) more than the local company. People in Shanghai like to go to foreign countries, and once they settled down, they may help their friends to come out. That's why so many people from Shanghai are now working in foreign countries. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Xinxin (edited May 19, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2000 8:55 am 
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Xinxin, once again many thanks for this fascinating perspective on ballet and dance in China. When San Francisco Ballet were in London Yuan Yuan Tan was one of many dancers who made a big impression and, from memory, she danced the lead in the opening performance of 'Swan Lake'.<P>It goes without saying that criticaldance readers will always be pleased to hear your views on performances, news and developments in the Chinese dance world. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited May 19, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2000 9:24 pm 
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Location: Beijing, PRC
Stuart, I forgot to tell you:<BR>Ballet de Monte-Carlo used the taped music instead of the orchestra when they did "R&J" here.<BR>Have a nice weekend.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Xinxin (edited May 20, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2000 3:41 am 
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DAVID DOUGILL writes a round-up article in the Sunday Times that has a strong Asian flavour. He reviews the Guangdong Modern Dance Company and tell us, 'The 11 dancers, classically trained, are all fine performers, and there is one highlighted young male star, Li Hong Jun. He's blessed with a much-displayed torso that Michel-angelo might have coveted, plus a surge of power and physical control that takes our breath away in a short, spurting solo of twists, rolls, jumps, squats and up-ends appropriately titled I Want to Fly.'<P>He goes on to say how impressed he is with Saburo Teshigawara, also at the Brighton Festival, and also with the new Rambert programme that includes the t'ai chi and martial arts inspired Glen Tetley work, 'Embrace Tiger and Return to Mountain'.<P> <A HREF="http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/00/05/21/sticuldnc01003.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/00/05/21/sticuldnc01003.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: China's Cultural Center
PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2000 11:09 pm 
I hope this Guangdong Modern Dance Company will visit Hong Kong soon, as I've never seen it yet.


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