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    New Year dance explosion

2005-12-30 09:50

The annual Beijing International Dance Festival will again grace the New Year holidays to bring Beijing's dance aficionados a variety of stage productions.

Kicking off on January 10 with Georgian Legend, the grand masterpiece by the Georgian National Ensemble, the festivGeorgian Legendal will run for ten days until January 20.

A lot smaller than last year's fifty shows, this time the festival will only present eight dances from Chinese and foreign dance troupes, staged in the Great Hall of the People and in other theatres around the capital.

Fans of classical ballet will have a chance to appreciate the authentic Don Quixote by the Russian National Ballet Theatre of Moscow, while the esteemed Russian Eifman Ballet will bring its original dances fusing the expressiveness of modern dance with the language of classical ballet.

Various folk dances are another highlight of the festival, including A Palmful of Wild Jujubes directed by choreographer Zhang Jigang, Contending in Bizarrerie and Beauty and The Pearl of the Orient given by Chinese ethnic minority dancers from the China National Song & Dance Ensemble. The Champaign, the representative work of Beijing Dance Academy, will also be restaged on January 18.

The dance festival, under the auspices of the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, is now in its third year.

Caucasian Glamour

The debut show of Georgian Legend by the Georgian National Ensemble is undoubtedly the biggest event of the festival.

Staged in the Great Hall of the People from January 10 to 13, the large-scale dance show presents various authentic folk dances from the Caucasus. Telling stories about love and work, wars and victories, the dance play will represent the pride and courage of the Caucasus' people.

With original choreography, majestic sets and hundreds of costumes, the show gathers numerous breathtaking jumps, sabre fights, dizzying waltzes, technical prowess and moving choirs to create the special effects. Since all dancers are terpsichorean athletes, the audience will also have the chance to appreciate the unique Caucasian men's tiptoe dance, the male dancers dancing on toe-point while wearing supple leather ballet slippers. The height of their jumps, the variety, rapidity and synchronicity of their movements show astonishing power and precision.

Russian ballet bonanza

The festival will also witness a special Russian ballet wind on Chinese stage. The Russian National Ballet Theatre of Moscow will stage its representative classical dance Don Quixote in the Beijing Exhibition Theatre, and the Eifman Ballet, will give its debut show of Tchaikovsky and Hamlet in the Great Hall of the People on January 13 and 14.

Hailed by critics worldwide as one of the most significant contributors to today's ballet, the Eifman Ballet, founded by Russian choreographer Eifman in 1977, has revolutionized the concept of classical dance in Russia by taking the art of ballet to its highest level of expressiveness. The theatre's unique style fuses avant-garde dance with the methods of the 20th century dramatic theatre and film, using all the aspects of a theatrical production to create a rich and multi-dimensional effect.

The two shows Tchaikovsky and Hamlet, are representative works of the troupe in recent years.

Ethnic dance charm

The dance season also has two large-scale Chinese ethnic dances: A Palmful of Wild Jujube and Contending in Bizarrerie and Beauty.

As the first dance drama reflecting the Shanxi business culture, the Pantomime, A Palmful of Wild Jujube, describes a Chinese tragic love story set at the beginning of the 20th century with a strong Shanxi flavour, encompassing the unique local customs as well as various Shanxi folk songs and dances.

In Contending in Bizarrerie and Beauty, the audience will find many modernized minority dances like the jazz version of the Dai people's Peacock dance and unique Tibetan folk dance with step dance elements.

(China Daily 12/30/2005 page6)


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