The story appears on

Page C6

February 5, 2010

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Exotic ballet about Marco Polo

SHANGHAI Ballet's new original work, "Marco Polo - The Final Mission," will make its world premiere at Shanghai Grand Theater on February 10-11, to usher in the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The lavish, two-hour ballet is a collaboration with French fashion brand Pierre Cardin, which designed the costumes with a feel for the Silk Road and the magnificence of the Mongol empire.

"This is an exotic ballet combined with modern and fashion elements," says Hamuti, president of Shanghai Ballet.

The three-act ballet, almost two years' preparation, is based on Marco Polo's own account of his fabulous travels, "The Travels of Marco Polo (1254-1324)."

The story goes that Emperor Kublai Khan finally consented to let Marco Polo and his family return to Venice, as long as they obeyed his final order - to escort a Mongol princess to Persia, where she was to marry a Persian prince.

The production gives a vivid account of Marco Polo's last mission, including a romantic link between Polo and the princess.

The ballet is scripted by Fang Fang and Zhang Wei and features many internationally known dancers.

Sixty dancers from Shanghai Ballet will participate, including international award winners Fan Xiaofeng, Ji Pingping, Sun Shenyi and Wu Husheng.

The score was written by American composer Daniel Walker, whose works are described by Hamuti as "very emotional with beautiful melodies."

The music has been recorded by Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Chen Xieyang.

Spanish choreographer Jose Martinez from the Etoile of Paris Opera Ballet, choreographed the show and he is now in Shanghai for rehearsals.

He was awarded the Best Choreographer Prize in "Pris Benois de la Danse 2009," which is considered the Oscars of international dance.

This show incorporates many kinds of Asian dance from China, Central Asia, India and the Arabian Peninsula.

"The show is an adventure for new culture in the dance area, just as Marco Polo's journey as an adventure into Oriental customs centuries ago," says choreographer Martinez.

"I like ballet dance of a legendary story like this, which will bring us to a world full of imagination and the floating modernity."

The staging will represent a dreamlike, fantasized and changing universe.

"We are looking forward to the first show of this far-reaching ballet in Shanghai," says Xin Lili, art director of Shanghai Ballet.

Shanghai Ballet is one of the five major ballet companies in China. As the professional ballet company in Shanghai, it has educated dance and ballet audiences to appreciate Shanghai's vibrant performing arts. It tours worldwide and performs Western classical ballet, Chinese national ballet and modern ballet.

Shanghai Ballet has turned Chinese legends, such as the "Butterfly Lovers" and "White-haired Girl," into dance.

"The Marco Polo show is a new challenge," says Hamuti. "The ballet art, dramatic love story, and the fancy costumes are perfectly combined and Chinese elements are added."

The ballet will be staged in May during World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and is expected to go on international tour.

The costumes for this show are designed by the company of 88-year-old Pierre Cardin, and Kublai Khan's costume alone is valued at more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,465).

Pierre Cardin's relationship with China goes back a long way. Before the cooperation with Shanghai Ballet, Pierre Cardin made a hit in Beijing during the Olympic Games in 2008 with a very different phantasmagoric show, "Marco Polo - The Imaginary Voyage."

Date: February 10-11, 7:15pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

Tickets: 80-580 yuan


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend