Pirouette in the city

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-27 09:00
Swan Lake by the National Ballet of China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Beijing is set to see half a dozen spectacular ballet performances, coming in from areas as diverse as Minsk and Manila in May.

In 2018, Xu Gang, the director and choreographer of National Ballet of China, went to Minsk, Belarus to watch performances by the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre. One of the biggest theaters in Europe, the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre turned 85 last year.

During his trip, Xu watched classic ballet pieces, such as Swan Lake, Le Corsaire and the theater's original ballet, Spartacus, by famous choreographer Valentin Elizariev, who is also the art director of the theater.

"Elizariev is an old friend of China. He has come to China many times as a judge for China's ballet competitions," says Xu. "His wife showed me her ring during our dinner, telling me that it was a gift from Bai Shuxiang."

Bai is a former ballerina of the National Ballet of China, and she is the first Chinese ballerina who performs the white swan.

This May, the 71-year-old Elizariev, will come to Beijing with the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre for two shows of Spartacus, on May 3 and 4 at the National Centre for the Performing Arts.

The work, based on a ballet piece of the same title by composer Aram Khachaturian, tells the story of a gladiator, Spartacus, who is the leader of a slave rebellion against the Roman empire.

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