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Ballet in China> Beijing Review Archive> 1980s
UPDATED: February 22, 2010 NO. 40 OCTOBER 2, 1989
Chinese Ballet Stars Win Awards in Moscow

Wang Shan and Xu Gang in Don Quixote (ZHANG FUYONG)

At the Sixth International Ballet Competition Moscow in June, Chinese competitors Wang Shan from the Central Ballet Troupe and Li Yan from Beijing Dance Academy won third prize for their performances in the pas de deux.

The International Ballet Competition Moscow is among the world's top level ballet competitions. This year a total of 104 dancers from 26 countries took part in the competition, with 90 dancers competing in the pas de deux. Wang Shan and Li Yan won high praise from the audience for their charming presentations.

Wang Shan and her partner Xu Gang performed the wedding pas de deux from Coppelia in the first round of the competition. Accompanied by classical French-style music, the slender and pretty Wang Shan devoted herself completely to the movements and steps. Her graceful and elegant style of dancing, the music and the setting combined to make an artistic whole in which the heroine, Swanilda, was vividly portrayed. At the end of their performance, applause exploded in the theatre. Many judges shook hands with Professor Xiao Suhua, the Chinese judge and a professor from the Beijing Dance Academy, to express their congratulations.

"This dancer had good musical quality and she knows how to dance," they said,"We feel that she heeds every musical note when she dances."

One correspondent from the Soviet Dance Magazine commented: "Your performance is the best in this party. In terms of ballet, you Chinese are different from others, that is, you have your own delicate characteristics."

In the second round, Wang Shan and Xu Gang performed Sleeping Beauty and a modern Chinese ballet entitled Lan Huahua. Xu Gang failed to qaulify for the final. Wang Shan entered the final but had low marks as a result of losing too many points in the modern ballet performance.

In the final competition, they presented Don Quixote. Their perfect coordination, highly difficult movements, correct interpretation of the ballet and vivid portrayal of the heroine won high praise from the judges and the audience. Wang Shan won third prize.

Li Yan, a beautiful dancer from the Beijing Dance Academy, also displayed her artistic potential in the competition. In the first round, she and her partner Ou Lu performed a pas de deux from the classical ballet Giselle and entered the second round. In the second round, she and Ou Lu performed a movement from Sleeping Beauty in which Li Yan impressed the audience with her light and graceful performance.

They won top marks for their modern piece The Last Moment. In the final competition, Li Yan won third prize for her excellent performance of Le Corsaire. Ou Lu, also from the Beijing Dance Academy, was the second prize winner at the Fifth Japan World Ballet Competition in Osaka and silver medalist of the 12th International Ballet Competition Varna-Bulgaria. This time, he came only as Li Yan's partner because he was over the age limit. However, the judges unanimously agreed to give the best partner award to him because of his outstanding performance.

The Soviet audience who are well known for their love of ballet showed special warmth towards the Chinese dancers. Many people waited outside the theatre to present flowers to them and ask for their autographs.

Of the 26 countries that took part in the competition, only the Soviet Union, China, Switzerland and Japan won awards.

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