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Ballet in China> Beijing Review Archive> 1980s
UPDATED: February 22, 2010 NO. 8 FEBRUARY 24, 1986
Ballet Tour to Showcase New Dances
China's Central Ballet leaves February 19 for its first U.S. tour. The tour programme will highlight recent Chinese choreographies which typify the developments and changes Chinese ballet has gone through in the last few decades

Two years later, along with more than 50 international dancers, Zhang participated in a tribute performance to the late Sir Anton Dolin at the Royal Theatre in London. During the tribute, Zhang's performance in Variations for Four was well-received. He went on to win prizes at the October 1984 international competition in Osaka, Japan and the June 1985 competition in Moscow. When people praised his mastery of the Russian-style classical ballet school and affirmed his presentation of pure British-style ballet, Zhang thought only of how he would like to devote more effort to developing Chinese-style ballet.

The Maid of the Sea (XU XIANGJUN)

Aside from Zhang, Central Ballet has other exceptionally talented young dancers who seem destined for equally brilliant careers. Among these are Tang Min and Guo Peihui (women), and Zhao Minhua and Wang Caijun (men), each of whom has won prizes in international competitions in this decade.

The Company

The 400 members of Central Ballet make up a particularly capable group and include dancers, instructors, choreographers, musicians and dance theorists. Bai Shuxiang, the earliest member of the company and one of the first ballet artists to be trained in the People's Republic, began her training in 1954 when she entered the newly-established Beijing School of Dance.

Ballet was first imported to China in the 1920s. In those days one could find an occasional privately-run ballet school or a sporadic ballet performance in the cities of Harbin or Shanghai; nothing much, however, came of these incipient attempts to transplant ballet in China until after liberation.

Balierina Feng Ying (XU XIANGJUN)

In 1950 a small dance company formed by Dai Ailian, who was born in Trinidad and studied ballet in England, gave its first performance in Beijing. Four years later the Beijing School of Dance was established with Dai at its head, and Soviet ballet experts were invited to give basic training in ballet. Later the school was divided into ballet and folk dance sections. Bai Shuxiang and some 20 others were assigned to the ballet section and began to receive exclusive training in the Soviet style.

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