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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Guangzhou Acrobatics Troupe Swan Lake

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The International Herlad Tribune has written an interesting article on the Guangzhou Acrobatics Troupe's "Acrobatic Swan Lake" --- that show that we otherwise know only by an enigmatic YouTube clip. In trying to understand arts in China, this article gives some background.




Some interesting quotes from the article:


"Acrobatic Swan Lake" is directed and choreographed by Zhao Ming, a former ballet dancer who studied modern dance in New York in 1984 and was a principal dancer with the Hong Kong Ballet from 1993 to '95. He is also this year's chief choreographer for the annual China Central Television Lunar New Year gala that is watched by 800 million people.


'Swan Lake" is one of the best-loved of all ballets, especially in China, where it was the first full-length ballet performed by Chinese dancers after the founding of the People's Republic... Acrobatics, on the other hand, is the ugly duckling of China's performing arts, ignored and disdained by city dwellers who consider it both passé and déclassé. So producing an acrobatic version of "Swan Lake" would seem to be a risky undertaking, destined to be criticized by high culture purists and ignored by audiences who like their Swan Lake just fine without the trapeze...


Surprisingly, its acrobatic version of "Swan Lake" has taken China by storm, filling houses in more than half a dozen cities, including more than 30 sold-out performances at the Shanghai Grand Theater, where it premiered last March.


The article also states that this production is done with zero government subsidy, and was conceived of from the start for an international audience. They're now on a worldwide tour expected to last five years.

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Curious, the differences in the two Chinas. I found that the ROC thought ballet déclassé, but traditional Chinese performing arts were hot tickets!


I do recall the Central Ballet Company (PRC) mounting Swan Lake. Dame Beryl Grey staged.

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I suspect there's a big difference in approach to classical Chinese Opera vs. Acrobatics. Did the ROC consider just one or both to be hot?

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They considered them different, but both very popular.

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