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October 16, 2011

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China premiere for original ballet

BEJART Ballet Lausanne's original ballet "Where the Birds Are," based on a modern Chinese poem, will make its world premiere in Beijing, followed by performances in Shanghai on October 21 and 22 at the Shanghai Grand Theatre.

The new ballet was created especially for the 13th China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

The Swiss ballet company is famous for innovative modern works such as "Ballet for Life" and "Firebird."

At the Shanghai performance on its Asian tour, the company will also stage two of its classics, "Bolero" and "Dionysus."

The new ballet "Where the Birds Are" is based on a poem titled "The Charm of Life" by Cheng Shenglai, the deputy secretary-general of Shanghai China International Arts Festival Committee.

Gil Roman, artistic director of Bejart Ballet Lausanne, choreographed the original work.

The poem is about the cycle of life, people today stepping into the continuously flowing river of life that their ancestors also entered and watching the same stars that their ancestors watched. Life is a revolving stage and many things are beyond human control, it says.

Roman says, "Echoing this poem, images and ideas emerged: the cycle of life, death and rebirth, of yin-yang balance." The poem also evoked the works of French sculptor Marta Pan, a close friend and collaborator of ballet founder Maurice Bejart, he says.

Pan's sculpture "Equilibre" inspired Bejart to create the ballet "Balance" that is performed in, around and with the sculpture. He says it also helped him create "Where the Birds Are."

The ballet was established by Bejart in 1960 and presented numerous original dance works under Bejart, who died in 2007. Roman continues the creative tradition.

The ballet "Dionysus" (1984) tells the story of the birth of the Greek god of wine. It is a crossover creation with choreography by Bejart, stage settings by Japanese painter Tadanori Yokoo, and costumes designed by Gianni Versace.

The passionate ballet combines dance elements from Greece, the Middle East and India.

Roman was the leading dancer in the ballet's world premiere in 1984 and the Shanghai performance will keep to the original.

"Bolero" is one of the most popular works of Bejart Ballet Lausanne and was staged in Shanghai in 2005. It was created by Bejart basing on Ravel's 18-minute work "Bolero." There are many dance versions of the highly sensual "Bolero" with its famously accelerating tempo and Bejart's version focuses on the eternal attraction between the two sexes and the continual acceleration of life's tempo.

Date: October 21-22, 7:15pm

Address: 300 People's Ave

Tickets: 200-1,280 yuan

Tel: 962-388


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