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Liaoning dancers to attend 'Ballet Oscars' in Moscow

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-17 07:25

Dancers from China's Liaoning Ballet perform in Vladivostok, Russia, Feb 20, 2024. [Photo/Xinhua]

Two dancers from Liaoning Ballet, Zhang Haidong and Sun Huixin, along with the Chinese ballet company's president and artistic director Qu Zijiao, will travel to Moscow, Russia, from June 23 to 27 and attend the award ceremony of Benois de la Danse, a prestigious international ballet prize also known as the "Ballet Oscars".

"It's a great honor to attend the event, and we will bring one of our best ballet pieces to the audiences in Moscow," said Qu, who will serve as one of the jury members this year.

"We have built up a long friendship with Russian artists and audiences with a number of cultural exchange programs and performances. This upcoming event will bring Chinese dancers to Russia, showcasing one of our ballet pieces," she added.

Zhang, a principal dancer of Liaoning Ballet, and Sun, a ballerina of the company, will perform at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre an excerpt from the neoclassical ballet piece, Notre Dame de Paris, which is choreographed by German-Nigerian choreographer Patrick de Bana.

The ballet piece, based on Victor Hugo's novel of the same title and commissioned by Liaoning Ballet, premiered at the Liaoning Grand Theater in October.

Liaoning Ballet, one of the best-known ballet companies in China, which was founded in 1980, has frequently performed in Russia and gained a wide fan base, according to Qu.

From Feb 20 to 25, it presented two of its productions — Sundial, choreographed by Ao Dingwen, a principal dancer of Liaoning Ballet, and Notre Dame de Parisin Vladivostok, a seaport in southeastern Russia.

"Tickets for our five shows in Russia (in February) sold out fast. We not only staged a piece by a Western choreographer but also an original Chinese ballet work, and both received warm feedback from the audiences," Qu said.

"We want to have more opportunities to showcase Chinese ballet in Russia," she added.

The Benois de la Danse prizes are awarded annually for the most prominent accomplishments in the ballet world during the previous year. The competition was launched in 1991 in Moscow by the International Dance Association — now called the International Choreography Union — and the awards were presented for the first time the same year on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre.

Every year, the event gathers an international jury comprising prominent choreographers, heads of the largest ballet companies, outstanding dancers and famous ballet teachers. The jury members make nominations and, after conducting assessments through the year, determine the winners.

Last year, Qiu Yunting, one of the principal dancers of the National Ballet of China, won the Best Female Dancer award at the Benois de la Danse.

Wu Yong in Shenyang contributed to this story.


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