The pride pride of of China: China: Chi­nese Dancers dancersin renowned in renowned in­ter­na­tion­al­for­eign troupes troupes

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHANG KUN in Shang­hai


A num­ber of Chi­nese dancers are star­ring in prom­i­nent roles in per­for­mances by for­eign troupes at this year’s China Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val (CSIAF).

Tan Yuanyuan is ar­guably one of the most rec­og­nized Chi­nese ballerinas who has en­joyed en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity in the in­ter­na­tional scene. She will take on the ti­tle role in Giselle by the San Fran­cisco Bal­let. The dance com­pany will be per­form­ing at Shang­hai Cul­ture Square on Oct 30.

Tan, who hails from Shang­hai, shot to fame when she won a se­ries of awards at in­ter­na­tional bal­let com­pe­ti­tions when she was a teenager. She later caught the eye of San Fran­cisco Bal­let when she was on tour in the city with Shang­hai Bal­let in 1995 and the Amer­i­can dance com­pany promptly re­cruited her. Tan was pro­moted to prin­ci­pal dancer just three years later at the age of 21, and she is till to­day the only Chi­nese dancer to hold that po­si­tion in a top bal­let com­pany in the United States.

A few years ago, Tan said that she would con­sider re­tir­ing by the age of 35 but the 38-yearold still looks to be go­ing strong, pre­sent­ing be­tween 80 and 90 shows ev­ery year. She re­cently said on Oct 21, be­fore her per­for­mance at the Na­tional Cen­ter of Per­form­ing Arts in Bei­jing, that she is still liv­ing “in a dream” with re­gard to her il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

An­other Chi­nese dancer to grace the stage at CSIAF is Guo Chengwu, a prin­ci­pal at Aus­tralian Bal­let. On Oct 24, he danced as the prince in the com­pany’s pro­duc­tion of Cin­derella, and later took on the role of the lead­ing star in the com­pany’s gala per­for­mance on Oct 25.

Guo had stud­ied in the school at­tached to Bei­jing Dance Academy when he was 10 years old. He later went to Aus­tralia when he was 17 and joined the Aus­tralian Bal­let the fol­low­ing year. He at­trib­uted his suc­cess to hav­ing un­der­gone the dif­fer­ent train­ing regimes in China and Aus­tralia, say­ing that the strict se­lec­tion process and train­ing pro­gram in China helped de­velop him into a solid dancer, while the train­ing in Aus­tralia, which was less in­tense, en­abled him to un­der­stand and en­joy bal­let bet­ter.

Other Chi­nese per­form­ers to look out for are Peiju Chien-Pott (prin­ci­pal) and Xin Ying (soloist) from Martha Gra­ham Dance Com­pany, the old­est Amer­i­can dance troupe which was es­tab­lished in 1926. The com­pany had two shows from Oct 28 to 29 at Shang­hai Grand Theatre, salut­ing three great artists of the 20th cen­tury: Pablo Pi­casso ( Deep Song, Chron­i­cle), Igor Stravin­sky ( The Rite of Spring) and Gra­ham her­self ( Lamen­ta­tion Vari­a­tions).


Catch Guo Chengwu in ac­tion with Aus­tralian Bal­let at this year's China Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val.

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