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Chinese ballet troupe wows British cultural critics
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China's Central Ballet Troupe, which has just completed six days of performing classics like Swan Lake and Raise the Red Lantern in London, has won a lot of praise from Britain's cultural circles.

The performances by the Chinese national ballet group at the Royal Opera House (ROH) over the past few days were held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Swan Lake to China.

The troupe is indeed not new to London's cultural circle, as its rendition of Raise the Red Lantern was warmly welcomed back in 2003 when they performed at Sadler's Wells.

However, this time marked their first appearance at the world-renowned Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. The staging of the two entirely different styles of ballet produced respectively by legendary ballerina Natalia Makarova and Chinese film director Zhang Yimou was met by full-house audiences crying "bravo," accompanied by resounding applause.

Tony Hall, chief executive of the ROH, hailed the House's growing relationship with China in the year of the Beijing Olympics by presenting "the debut of the magnificent National Ballet of China in performances of Swan Lake and Raise the Red Lantern."

Lilian and Victor Hochhauser, who were instrumental in introducing the Central Ballet Troupe to the ROH during its summer season, claim both performances "reflect the unique and inspired blend of Chinese culture and history and Russian classical dance."

"They are simply superb," said Lilian, who has helped stage ROH's summer season over the last 15 years or so. "We always choose top quality performances for the ROH."

Months before the shows, British media had reported on the upcoming ballets to be performed by the Chinese troupe, while media reports streamed out steadily during and after the performances.

A Guardian report called Wang Qimin, who performed the roles of Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, "an uncannily supple dancer, with a technique so precise she can create whatever physical metaphors she chooses."

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