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An acrobatic Nutcracker

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

09:26, July 13, 2012

Nutcracker Magic features a fusion of art forms. Provided to China Daily

Liu Jun watched The Nutcracker for the first time when she was 15, on Christmas Eve in London, 1984. For Liu, who started ballet at age 10 and received a scholarship to study at the Royal Ballet in London, the dreamy and graceful classic has lingered in her mind since that night.

So much so, that after developing her career as a dancer in Europe for 20 years she returned to China with the idea of presenting her own version of The Nutcracker.

In September 2011, Liu fulfilled her wish by presenting Nutcracker Magic - part acrobatics, ballet and magic - for 13 nights at Shanghai Culture Square Theater.

She intends to present the show in Beijing and other cities around the country; and at the end of 2012, go on a world tour of 100 performances.

"It's not just simply a ballet show. Latin dance, tap dance and a fusion of art forms are incorporated in this new production," Liu says.

Tchaikovsky's music and some ballet elements are retained, but the new work has a different storyline and includes magic, acrobatics and exotic sets.

"The main reason I love the ballet is that it expresses my emotions and allows me to dream and imagine," Liu says.

The show is loosely inspired by the 43-year-old's own life story and follows a young girl, Marie, who wants to dance but is anxious about an international dance competition. She dreams of entering a talent show and the Nutcracker helps her win. She then wakes up, full of confidence, and finds love.

"I've watched many talent shows in China, which have lots of ordinary people showing off their talents. Though finally there is just one winner, all of the competitors are enthusiastic about performing and achieving their dreams," Liu says.

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