Liaoning Ballet company presents "The Last Emperor" in Beijing.
Liaoning Ballet's continuous spring of original work owes much to its dancers. Liaoning province is regarded as the cradle to some of the best male dancers in the country
Principal dancer Lu Meng first played the role of the young Puyi at the age of 17, and has grown up with the character.
"Having matured over the years, it's become less intuitive and more challenging for me to play someone younger than my actual age now. So I have to dig deeper into the role. And Puyi too, because of the socio-political turmoil, is someone who continues to re-examine himself and his life," Lu said.
In addition to performing its classic repertoire, Liaoning Ballet is also tasked with creating an original ballet each year. The company usually chooses Chinese stories and subsequently embellish it with traditionally Chinese elements before adapting it into a balletic language.
"The challenge for us dancers is actually whether a foreign audience, as well as Chinese audiences, can understand and appreciate these new trials," Lu said.
"The Last Emperor" is part of a rich line-up of 30 performances at the Tianqiao Theatre as part of the 1st China International Ballet Gala Season, running from November until the end of the year.
The ballet season also celebrates Tianqiao's 60th anniversary, its stage having been graced by the likes of Pavarotti and the Royal Ballet. With "The Last Emperor", the theatre is poised to become the ultimate venue for dance in the country's capital.