New hub will give national ballet a stage for excellence

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, September 13, 2022
Adjust font size:

Construction of the new complex for the National Ballet of China was launched on Sept 8.

Covering an area of about 50,000 square meters, it is located near Dahongmen in Fengtai district, along the Beijing Central Axis.

Though the completion date has not been announced, it is set to become a hub for ballet lovers and will make contributions to international communication among ballet companies from around the world, says Feng Ying, the artistic director of the National Ballet of China.

"It is a significant moment for the company with the construction of the new venue now underway," says Feng.

"With a history of over 60 years, the company has experienced exponential growth, becoming a leading ballet company with an international reputation. The new venue will be a new beginning and a new chapter for the company."

The new complex will provide sufficient training space for ballet dancers and rehearsal space for the symphony orchestra of the company, as well as venues for rehearsal, stage design and storage for stage equipment.

The location of the company's new complex, which is also part of the capital's effort to develop its central axis, especially in terms of cultural offerings, will become a new landmark in Beijing.

The Beijing Central Axis refers to a 7.8-kilometer-long north-south line running through the center of the historical neighborhood of Beijing, which generally follows a symmetrical structure.

Formed gradually from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), when Beijing became the capital of the country, the central axis has many key historical sites along its route, such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Zhengyang Gate (Qianmen) and the Bell and Drum towers. It is hoped that the central axis will achieve UNESCO World Heritage status at the World Heritage Committee in 2024.

As for the National Ballet of China, it carries the legacy of the country's first ballet troupe.

Since it was founded in 1959, the company has been headquartered in Hufangqiao, Xicheng district, of downtown Beijing, with its current major performance venue, Tianqiao Theater, situated nearby.

"The birth and growth of the National Ballet of China has been connected with the development of the country. The company has endured many challenges in its history and is a successful, confident and innovative company today," Feng, a former ballerina, said in an interview marking the company's 60th anniversary in 2019.

When the company was founded, Dai Ailian, or Ailien Tai, then 38, an overseas Chinese ballerina, was appointed as its first president.

Dai was born into a Chinese family in Trinidad and learned ballet in London. She returned to China in 1940.

The establishment of the company is also closely connected with the country's first institute of dance, Beijing Dance School (now Beijing Dance Academy), which opened on Sept 6, 1954.

In its early years, under the instruction of Russian experts, the National Ballet of China staged Le Corsaire and Giselle. In 1964, China's first original ballet production, The Red Detachment of Women, premiered in Beijing. It is best known in the West as the ballet performed for former US president Richard Nixon during his visit to China in 1972.

The growth of the company is based on two key missions, adapting Western classical ballet works and producing original Chinese ballet works, according to Feng.

Since 2010, the company has been holding annual workshops, aiming to inspire and nurture China's young dancers and choreographers, and launched a ballet school to cultivate young talent.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from