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Chinese version of The Nutcracker headed to Kennedy Center

By ZHAO HUANXIN in Washington | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-24 07:47

Dancers from the National Ballet of China present Ballade, a ballet work by Choo San Goh, the late Singaporean-born choreographer of Chinese descent, at a special event honoring the history and legacy of Goh at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Friday. Goh created Ballade in 1986 as a heartfelt dedication to his niece, Chan Hon Goh, who directed the show and spoke before the performance on Friday. [Photo by Zhao Huanxin / China Daily]

The National Ballet of China will stage a Chinese version of The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center during the next Lunar New Year, bringing Spring Festival scenes to Washington with Tchaikovsky's classic soundtrack, said Feng Ying, the head of the cultural company.

"In five days from the first day of the Lunar New Year (which falls on Jan 29), we'll present seven performances of The Nutcracker, China style, titled The Chinese New Year, at the Kennedy Center," Feng told China Daily on Saturday.

Feng was in Washington to lead a group of young Chinese ballet dancers in 10,000 Dreams: A Celebration of Asian Choreography, a weeklong celebration recognizing Asian and Asian American creatives, which concluded on Sunday.

The five ballet dancers performed Ballade, one of a series of works to honor the legacy of Choo San Goh, the late Singaporean-born choreographer of Chinese descent who served as resident choreographer and associate artistic director for The Washington Ballet and was hailed artistically for his major contributions to the ballet field.

"The Chinese New Year, a full-length ballet in two acts, will thrill the audiences — overseas Chinese as well as Americans," said Feng, a well-known ballerina and director of the National Ballet of China.

"It uses the original music by Tchaikovsky and depicts the great joy of Chinese people celebrating the national holiday, which is laden with festive customs and blessings," she added.

The Chinese twist on the all-time ballet favorite is part of the programs that the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has planned for its 2024-2025 dance season, which begins in October.

The season includes a "rich tapestry" of ballet and dance offerings with reimagined classics, forward-facing work from new and master voices, and unexpected collaborations on the center's stages, the Kennedy Center said in a release.

"Audiences will have the chance to experience two different versions of The Nutcracker this season with Philadelphia Ballet in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (Nov 27 and 29–Dec 1) and in celebration of Lunar New Year, National Ballet of China returns with its adaptation of the ballet, Chinese New Year (A Ballet in Two Acts) (Jan 29–Feb 2)," it said.

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