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Ballerinas finally swan into Shanghai
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13:03, August 08, 2009

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The San Francisco Ballet (SFB) will debut in China with several performances of the timeless classic Swan Lake from Sept 22 to Oct 3.

The oldest professional ballet company in the United States will hold four performances at Shanghai Grand Theater, including an opening night gala featuring a mixed repertory and three performances of Swan Lake on the following nights.

SFB, which in 1940 became the first ballet company to perform a complete production of the musical in the United States, will take to the stage once more at Suzhou Grand Theater (Sept 28) then finish off with three shows at Beijing Poly Theater (Oct 1, 2 and 3).

Artistic Director Helgi Thomason said she hopes to bring a new flavor to the Chinese edition after spending the past quarter of a century working with the troupe.

The China tour forms part of the official celebrations commemorating the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China as well as the 30th year of Sino-US ties.

A scene from "Swan Lake" by the San Francisco Ballet.(Photo Source: China Daily)

"On the occasion of these two historic and landmark anniversaries, we are very honored to participate in the country's celebrations by performing my production of Swan Lake and a mixed-repertory program that not only showcases the talent of the Company, but also demonstrates the diversity of our repertory," said Tomasson. "The invitation confirms San Francisco's international reputation as a center for the arts. We are particularly proud to be representing our community."

"Many editions of Swan Lake have been staged at Shanghai Grand Theater, including one from the local Shanghai Ballet, but Tomasson's version is quite different," said Wu Liangyu, a spokesman for the tour's sponsor.

"New York Times art critic Anna Kisselgoff described her version as the most beautiful ever made," he said. "She removed the break between the third and fourth scenes and added a duet between the prince and the white swan by borrowing Tchaikovsky's Serenade Melancolique, which never fails to please ballet aficionados."

Shanghainese dancer Tan Yuanyuan will perform the lead role on Sept 23 and 25. Although this is the first time the SFB has toured China, Tan performs in the city almost every year. The 35-year-old is currently working with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon on Ghost, a new piece set to premier next year.

"He is creating the Pas De Duex for me and Damian Smith. It is really hard, but breathtaking," wrote Tan in her online journal.

Source: China Daily

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