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Legendary dancer Chen Ailian still a queen

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-22 07:47

Legendary dancer Chen Ailian still a queen

Dancer-choreographer Chen Ailian has been active on stage since the 1950s. Her latest performance is the dance drama Dream of the Red Chamber. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Yu Mei Ren, which combines Western ballet with traditional Chinese dance moves, is regarded as the Chinese equivalent of Swan Lake.

After graduating, she became a teacher at the Beijing Dance Academy.

Chen also played leading roles in many other Chinese dance dramas, such as The White-Haired Girl and The Peony Pavilion.

In 1962, her performance in the dance drama Spring River in the Flower Moon Night, based on Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet Zhang Ruoxu's poem of the same title, won Chen four top prizes at the World Festival of Youth and Students, an international event organized by the United Nations, in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1980, Chen held a solo dance show in Beijing, the first of its kind in China, which showcased her techniques in traditional Chinese dance and ballet.

Chen says Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso, who is now 97, is her idol.

In 2002, the ballerina led her company, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, to perform in Beijing.

Speaking about Alonso, Chen says: "I admire those who pursue their passion despite their age. I still have many ideas about choreographing new dance dramas, as well as for my school. And even if one day I cannot stand, I still can dance in my mind."

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