National Ballet of China (NBC) is the sole national ballet company in China. It was founded in 1959 and Pyotr Gusev, the celebrated Russian ballet artist laid a solid foundation of classical ballet for the company.
Today, in its repertoire, there are dozens of full-length ballets, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote and others. In the recent 20 years, especially since the 1990s, the company has staged many contemporary ballet works as La Sylphide, Serenade, Etude, Four Last Songs, Rite of Spring and also modern dance works.
NBC has successfully utilized ballet – an art form from the west – to depict the lives of the Chinese people. The Red Detachment of Women has become a classic which enjoys fame around the world. Also, Yellow River, Butterfly Lovers and Raise the Red Lantern are universally appreciated repertory. These outstanding ballets established a foundation for creating a ballet style uniquely Chinese.
Many prominent dance artists and choreographers, Dai Ailian, Li Chengxiang, Jiang Zuhui, Bai Shuxiang and others have made important contributions to the founding of the NBC. Today, the dancers are full of vigor and vitality and they are maturing artistically. Under the industrious training of Feng Ying, Wang Caijun and other teachers, Zhu Yan, Zhang Jian, Wang Qimin, Meng Ningning, Li Jun, Yu Bo won Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals at major international Ballet competitions in recent years. The new generation of outstanding dancers led by Sun Jie, are catching the attention of the ballet world.
NBC continues to strengthen international cultural exchange. It has toured dozens of countries and regions around the world. Every year, the company invites famous ballet masters and choreographers from abroad to instruct the dancers and stage new ballets for the company. All these have broadened the international influence of Chinese ballet and help the company strive for perfection to become one of the major ballet companies of the world.
NBC has an outstanding Symphony Orchestra, which not only plays for the performance of the company; it also cooperates with ballet companies from abroad. The orchestra also gives concerts on its own, which have been praised by both musicians and audience. The Stage Art Department of the company has designed and manufactured many productions for NBC, and for other companies occasionally. The Tianqiao Theatre, which is affiliated to NBC, was built in 1953. It was rebuilt and the construction completed in 2001. It is one of the few theatres which are specially built for ballet and opera in China.
In the recent ten years, led by Mme. Zhao Ruheng, the Director NBC is making outstanding contribution to realize its goal -- "Strive for the prosperity of the art of ballet."
(China.org.cn September 23, 2005)