2003-12-12 10:03:57
Dancing delights
  Author: Li Shuo

A series of colourful dances are set to brighten the stages of Beijing this Christmas.

Shanghai Oriental Youth Dance Troupe is to display Wild Zebra from Christmas Eve until December 26 at Beizhan Theatre. The dance, brought to Australia earlier this year to great acclaim, has taken 10 million yuan (US$1 million) at the box office.

In that show, themed on wildlife and environmental protection, performers take the part of animals.

Meanwhile the National Ballet of China is to stage Raise the Red Lantern, a Chinese ballet based on Zhang Yimou's acclaimed movie of the same name. That too starts on Christmas Eve and runs until December 27th.

These not enough? Then take your pick from a staggering 50 performances of 17 dances performed by over a dozen Chinese and foreign dance troupes during this period.

They are part of the First Beijing International Dance Festival which will run into January.

The event is sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the Beijing Municipal Government.

The dances include ballets, both foreign classical and Chinese ones, and Chinese folk dances plus modern pieces and tap-dancing.

The troupes, all long established, have been invited from all corners of the earth. They include the Belarussian Ballet, the Russian National Ballet Theatre, the National Ballet of Cuba, and troupes from Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In addition to half-a-dozen foreign troupes, four Chinese troupes- The National Ballet of China, China's top ballet troupe; the Oriental Song and Dance Troupe, famous for its colourful folk dances; Tongjing Dance Troupe affiliated to Beijing Dancing Institutes and Shanghai Oriental Youth Dance Troupe - will aim to make an impression.

Ballets include Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Raise the Red Lantern, The Red Detachment of Women, Fairies and Carmen. There's also a kaleidoscope of Chinese and foreign folk dances by Chinese artists as well as a tap-dancing show by the Las Vegas Dance Troupe.

Director of the Oriental Song and Dance Troupe, Tian Junli said: "We are glad we can dance together with foreign dancers on the same stage. So many programmes will keep the audience happy, and I believe they will find Chinese artists' performances as good as their foreign counterparts."

Zhao Ruheng, director of the National Ballet of China, agreed: "We have gained great acclaim during our trip to Europe last month. It proved that our ballet dancers are also super and competitive. They will all be stars on the stage this festive season."

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