Shanghai Ballet makes NYC debut with Grand Swan Lake

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-18 16:23:07|Editor: ZX
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Ballet dancers perform onstage during the Grand Swan Lake at Lincoln Center in New York, the United States, Jan. 17, 2020. China's Shanghai Ballet brought its internationally prominent Grand Swan Lake to New York City on Friday. (Xinhua/Qin Lang)

NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Over 80 dancers with China's Shanghai Ballet graced the stage at the David H. Koch Theater of Lincoln Center on Friday night, with the troupe's globally renowned rendition of Grand Swan Lake.

Staging the timeless tragic love story of Princess Odette and Prince Siegfried, the ballet was accompanied by the New York City Ballet Orchestra, which was playing the classic piece of Tchaikovsky under the baton of Charles Barker from American Ballet Theatre.

Apart from the awe-inspiring choreography and lush visuals, the production, which premiered in Shanghai in 2015, features a spectacular flock of 48 "swans" on stage, twice the scale of the classic version.

The production's director and artistic director of Shanghai Ballet, Derek Deane, told Xinhua that creating such a grand version of Swan Lake was "literally an experiment" and a way to make it "more interesting."

During his collaboration with the Shanghai Ballet, Deane, also the former artistic director of English National Ballet, found the Chinese troupe "very adaptable."

"They're very willing to change. They listen and they learn very quickly," said Deane.

It turned out to be an enormous success as the adaptation was bestowed with great physical and emotional impact on stage, he added.

When the 3-hour production concluded Friday night, an audience of over 2,000 gave a 5-minute standing ovation.

Qi Bingxue, the principal dancer who plays Princess Odette, said that with more "swans" on the stage, dancers were trained hard in order to reach a high level of precision so that "48 swans move like one," she said.

For them, to be able to perform at such a celebrated venue as Lincoln Center means their efforts have paid off. "It's a dream (that has) come true. We've been looking forward to this day for a long time," said Qi.

During the past four years, the troupe has toured Europe and Australia with nearly 100 performances, and has been remarkably well-received.

"In the Netherlands, we were sold out in all 19 performances," said Xin Lili, the executive director of Shanghai Ballet.

Founded in 1966, Shanghai Ballet embraces a blend of traditional and Western dance styles and has created and staged numerous ballets, including The Butterfly Lovers.

Xin hoped their performances here will help introduce her troupe -- regarded as a cultural brand for Shanghai -- to the mainstream ballet world.

Introduced to Lincoln Center by the China Arts and Entertainment Group, Grand Swan Lake will run four performances from Friday to Sunday at the venue.

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