Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Shanghai IBC-2001 reports from Jeannie

38 posts in this topic

Notes from Round One/Day Three (my first day here) -

The new, modernistic and 'intimate' Shanghai Art Theater is the setting for the second Shanghai International Ballet, which began last Sunday with the first of three Round One sessions. I am joining the competition-audience at the 3rd and final day of this initial round, which took place last night.

First off, let me mention that, unlike all other IBC competitions on which I've reported via internet in the past -- such as Vaganova, Jackson, Varna, Moscow -- I am doing this one in a somewhat incognito fashion. In short, I've had to handle making ALL arrangements, including purchasing tickets/hotel, etc myself, as it was very difficult to communicate with the Shanghai IBC organizing committee in a timely manner. [Don't get me wrong - some really nice folks there. :)] Instead of a Journalists Visa, I obtained a simple Tourist these reports are coming to you in a - ahum - incognito manner. 'Nuff said about that but wanted all of you to understand that this is quite a different IBC competition experience for me. But lots of fun nonetheless...and probably far more fun than I would have had otherwise! ;)

As Hu Xinxin mentioned in another thread, most of the 107 competitiors at the Shanghai IBC come from the host country. There are 38 Senior-level competitors (16 women & 22 men) and 69 Juniors (a whopping 50 girls and 19 boys...of which America's Danny Tidwell, of DC's Kirov Academy, is the lone non-Chinese lad).

After each round, the number of competitiors will be whittled down. Later today, I expect to see the list of those who passed to Round 2, which commences tonight and continues through tomorrow. Then that group will be trimmed to a few finalists, who compete on Saturday night. Awards will be presented in Sunday night's closing Gala, to be held at the huge -- and also relatively new -- Shanghai Grand Theater.

BEST COMPETITORS SO FAR; this is a blend of my own look at last night's competitiors, about whom I write a few nuggets beside the name, and the thoughts of a couple of journalist-frinds who have been here since Day One.


FANG Xiaofeng (China - Shanghai) - No big surprise here. The tall, redheaded Xiaofeng, and her partner SUN Shenyi, nabbed Sr Gold medals at Varna last year; they are better than ever here, as displayed in their DON Q pdd last night. Technically perfect...except for her fouettes in the coda. Their best feature is their artistry, musicality & interplay with each other...they've really loosened up since Varna. The very knowledgeable -- and usually stoic -- audience went crazy cheering for them. Curiosity: Last Saturday night, the official 'Opening' of this competition was a full-length performance of SWAN LAKE (ENB version) by Shanghai Ballet...starring this couple. So perhaps they have been crowned already???? A bit odd - but you can't take it away from them. I really admire this pair.

WU Haiyan (China - Beijing) Also competed last night. A bit shorter than Xiaofeng and markedly stronger in technique...this gal explodes!

WEN Fang (China - Beijing) I missed her round one but am told that it was terrific. She's the 1998 Varna bronze medalist. A bit shorter & more muscular than other Chinese top ladies but supposedly will be fantastic in the contemporary solo in round 2.

SUN Xin (China, Guangzhou-Canton) Also missed but she & her partner are said to be very strong.

...and a note about a pre-competition fave who ran into hard luck last night: MENG Ningning (Beijing). She has gorgeous long line & fine technique but suffered from a too-short & smallist partner, YU Bo (also Beijing). Ningning also had back luck in solo segments, especially the coda, where she came completely off-pointe during the fouettes. Sad. Wonder if the judges will still pass her on to Round 2?


Anton BOGOV (Slovenia) - Not only the hands-down best-senior-man last night, but of all three rounds, according to friends. Explosive Ali & Basil solos. I haven't seen a dancer obtain so much 'air' in jumps since the young Mukhamedov. Gasps from audience.

SUN Shenyi (China - Shanghai) Local fave...mentioned above. Varna 2000 gold medalist with partner FANG Xiaofeng. And he is wonderful in characterization and good-if-not-spectacular in technique.

LI Jun (China - Beijing) Very strong & zippy.

Albert DAVIDOV (Kazan, Russia) looks a lot like ex-Kirov danseur Serge Berezhnoi. Fine Don Q solo...but those above bested him.


YAO Wei (China, Shanghai) I missed her rnd 1 performances but she is no surprise. Recent gold medalist at the Helsinki IBC. Said to be the hands-down gold-medal choice contest...especially since POB's Aurore Cordellier dropped out of the competition (did not 'show' - neither did POB's sr lady competitor, Sophie Parczen...quelle mystere... ;) )

YU Fangling (China - Beijing Acad) possible medalist; lovely line in her Lilac Fairy solo last night.

Maria ABASHOVA (Ukraine - lives in Austria) - strongest of 'the non-Chinese.' Majestic Gnd Pas Classique last night...but weaker in 2nd dance, Raymonda. Lovely dancer, though.

Junko OOSUKI (Japan) - I missed her rnd 1 but she is supposedly fabulous. Strong technique. I look forward to seeing her in rnd 2.

...and a word about this year's 'Wilting Lily Prize' for the skinniest contestant: China's SHANGGUAN Yuhing of Shanghai Dance Academy. Somebosdy get an IV to this girl. Down to bone. Painful to watch & her face was 'screaming' pain.


POSSLE GRAND PRIX WINNER HERE, FOLKS!!! I refer to China-Shanghai's HUANG Yi. Remember the name of this lad, folks. Picture-perfect Siegfried-Black Swan and Paquita solos last night. Spectacular arched feet - floating leaps - natural ballon - musical & gracious - beautiful line - a Bluebird to die for, judging by extended series of entrechats at the end of Paquita solo last night. Audience went bonkers with 'bravi'! Are we in France or Italy...could this rowdy audience be truly Chinese? ;)

Danny TIDWELL (USA - Kirov Academy) Only US male competitng & the ONLY non-Chinese jr boy. Danny soared graciously through his 2nd solo, Flames of Paris. Overcame missed endings of pirouette sequences in his first solo, Coppelia, which was also very good otherwise. SPARKLES on stage - true charisma! Tidwell is a huge audience favorite among this mostly-Chinese audience. It warms my heart to hear this cheering for the good ole USA.

WU Bin (China - Shanghai) To me, Bin is the only other jr male with a possibility to medal, among those I saw last night. Seems very young & shy...but lovbely natural line &, like HUANG Yi, beautiful feet and a nice on-stage personality.

So there you have it. Let's see who progresses on to Round 2. next report will be on tonight's Round Two/Day One performances, which will include both classical & contemporary pieces.

p.s. - I counted four USA ladies competitng here, going by the souvenir programme. Two danced last night: Jennifer OWEN(sr division - trained in Russia & other places; now principal in Kansas City Ballet) and Suzanne Miriko TAKAHASHI (jrs - lives in Calif of Japanese background). Neither lady had the best of luck last night. Two other Jr ladies - Holly HASELTON and Kathleen HOWARD - competed on earlier word on them yet.

- Jeannie

Share this post

Link to post

Hi, Jeannie, many thanks for your detailed sum up. It's quite interesting to read your English version together with our Shanghai friends' Chinese version reports.

The Swan Lake presented in opening ceremony of Shanghai IBC was danced by Sun Shenyi with Ji Pingping as his new partner, instead of Fan Xiaofeng.

Fan and Sun will dance the same Swan Lake after the IBC, say either on 24 or 26 Aug. Hope you can catch that!

Share this post

Link to post

Hi, Jeannie, nice to see you in Beijing and many thanks for you report.

I think our friends in Shanghai would give you lots of local help. They repot us in Chinese every day. Please call Wa Wa at 64381100 (ext.) 104(daytime) / 62622591(home) / or 1362 1919 749.

BTW, National Ballet of China will give 3 performances of Giselle from September 6. It a pity that you Can not see it.

Take care in Shanghai.

Share this post

Link to post

Jeannie, thanks for your detailed report, and wish you a good stay in Shanghai and other Chinese cities.

Originally posted by Hu Xinxin:

BTW, National Ballet of China will give 3 performances of Giselle from September

Xinxin, I thought that the NBC is to tour America in September. Has the tour been postponed?

Share this post

Link to post

Jeannie, the following is posted on behalf of Wa Wa in Shanghai. She just registered here today, could only post messages by herself starting from tomorrow.


“Hello, Jeannie.” it is my first greeting to you. I hope everything is smoothing your hand when you are in Shanghai. If you need any help, do not hesitate to call me. Hu xin xin has posted my connect number above.

As you missed the first and the second days, I would like to add something. On the first day, there was a quite competitive danseur—KE Da from Shanghai ballet tour. He was extremely perfect with his La Esneralda solo. He was FLYING in the air. His marvelous piouette won everybody’s clapps.

On the second day, YAO Wei did not perform as good as FANG Zhong Jing (another winner of last Helsinki IBC).But anyway, both of them will definitely dance on the last session. And one of them will win the gold-medal for Junior,just the problem that who get better luck on 18th’s competition.

I notice you metioned LI Jun(China-Beijing) in your report. I was told by HOU Qing Feng that LI got a trouble last night. Something was wrong with his toes. So when he dance the solo, we could see he did his bet despite feet-ache. It is no double that he will enter 2nd round. but I wish him good luck.



Share this post

Link to post

Than you Jeannie for your always-so-delightful reviews!

As Hu Xinxin mentioned in another thread, most of the 107 competitiors at the Shanghai IBC come from the host country.


YAO Wei (China, Shanghai) I missed her rnd 1 performances but she is no surprise. Recent gold medalist at the Helsinki IBC. Said to be the hands-down gold-medal choice contest...especially since POB's Aurore Cordellier dropped out of the competition (did not 'show' - neither did POB's sr lady competitor, Sophie Parczen...quelle mystere... ;) )

Well , it seems like it's becoming the LBC(L for local) rather than the IBC!

Do you think that they want a chinese winner and it could "explain" why the POB competitors dropped out?

Is this the mystere? :)

Share this post

Link to post

Hello Jeannie!!

Once again, your reports are invaluable. :)

Jeannie, out of all those participants, how many non-Chinese competitors are there, do you know? I am interested to hear more about the competition, and do you think you can provide a little comparison (in terms of the level of the participants) with the recent Moscow IBC? Many thanks. :)

Enjoy the competition!!

Share this post

Link to post

Sophie Parcen POB competitor (senior) danced on the first day of Shanghai IBC. She will dance in the Round 2 today evening. She to feel well, the audience is lovely.

Share this post

Link to post

QB]Sophie Parcen POB competitor (senior) danced on the first day of Shanghai IBC. She will dance in the Round 2 today evening. She to feel well, the audience is lovely.[/QB]

Joseph , do you know what variations she presented?

Share this post

Link to post


in the first round: Swan Lake Odette var. and Clemence var. from the Raymonda,

in the second round: Grand pas classique female variation and a contemporary work from Susan Alexander (POB teacher).

Share this post

Link to post

. and Clemence var. from the Raymonda,

Is it from act 2?

I didn't know Susan Alexander was a POB teacher.Does she teach classical or contemporary?I thought all the teachers were french!

Share this post

Link to post

I think it's Clemence variation from act 1 "Valse fantastique", if it's the same she passed on internal POB competition last march. She was absolutely perfect in her arabesque "penchée".

Susan Alexander is contemporary professor. I hope sincerely Sofia will have a prize because she merits it how she merits to pass up grade in POB

Share this post

Link to post

Quick answers to the above, before my second report -

Huge 'thanks' for filling in the gaps, Wa Wa. It was nice meeting all of you (Lili, WaWa, et al) last night, during the contemporary round intermission. Let's talk tonight.

Yes, Wa Wa, I agree about Sr Male competitor KE Da...he was wonderful in the modern -- those shuffling steps in 2nd-position demi-plie really got the crowd going -- but he must have been off in his classical variation. On the other hand, the new name that really impressed me among Sr Men was HAO Be of Beijing...wonderful high 'Acteon' plus the modern piece 'Revolving' (and, my, does he know how to revolve with those quick, well-centered pirouettes!).

Terry - I give numbers of Chinese-vs-non in report that follows. We are all calling this the Chinese National Championships...although the Chinese are, on the whole, fantastic dancers, so this is a delight regardless. However, note that not one Japanese competitor made it to round 2. Only one American (the boy - Danny Tidwell...none of the four girls), etc, etc.

Joszef - You cannot imagine my surprise last night, when I entered the theater & saw Sophie Parczen's coach, Mme. Erzsebet Dvorsky!!! On Wednesday, I asked an IBC official point-blank if Sophie had already performed her Round One, and he told me 'She's not here. No Hungarians.' You can't imagine how my husband & my hearts sank, as we actually carried a Hungarian flag with us to cheer her. Then. last night, I see her coach as I enter the theater , who tells me that Sophie made it to Round 2 & would be performing. So much for asking the IBC officials for information... :) You can read my detailed report shortly (separate post) but Sophie -- who is one of only 10 senior women to survive to Round 2 and the ONLY non-Chinese woman to do so!! -- was brilliant in Gnd Pas Classique and in her peppy modern solo, 'Holding Your Own.' She definitely held her own...

Again, my deep apologies to Joszef and all others for the initial misinformation...but such has been the nature of information (or, rather, LACK of information) available not only to the press (my credentialed friends) and to the public at large. No nightly programs available - no lists of who-made-round-2 posted - no names of choreographers of the modern pieces cited - no press room - you get the picture. My Japanese friends among the press have received zero - zip - nada. Thank God for a couple of unamed 'angels' among the junior-lelvel IBC staff who literally 'snuck' us into the backstage area last night to allow us TWO MINUTES to write down the names of the round 2 competitors.

My report of Day One of Round Two (last night) follows.

[ 08-16-2001: Message edited by: Jeannie ]

Share this post

Link to post

Report on Round Two/Day One -

Fifty-four out of 107 competitors made it on to Round Two, which commenced tonight:

Sr Ladies - 10 of 16 (1 non-Chinese, Hungary/POB's Sophie Parczen)

Sr men - 12 of 22 (3 non-Chinese: one Russian, one Slovenian & one Vietnamese)

Jr Girls - 19 of 50 (4 Korean, one French & 2 Ukraineans)

Jr Boys - 13 of 19; only 1 non-Chinese, Danny Tidwell of USA, who dances on Friday night

Approximately half of the above performed their Round 2 pieces last night...and a LONG night it was, due to the mostly-very-long contemporary pieces, which comprised the second half of the evening. Earlier, all Rnd 2 competitors appeared in a classical variation (or a classical pdd, in the case of the few contestants who are competing as pairs).

HIGHLIGHTS OF CONTEMPORARY PIECES, as there is a separate choreography prize to be given to the best...although the names of choreographers were never announced; neither were programmes of the evening supplied to it was a big guess as to who choregraphed each work. Noteworthey pieces were few & far between. My faves (judging only the choreography & not the dancer...some wonderful dancers performed some of the least effective pieces):

* Among juniors, I liked only two pieces performed by men...and both happened to be dancers from the little-known Liaoning Ballet troupe in Shenyang Province. LV Meng in 'Joy' (a short, upbeat & crisp rendition of a baroque - Bach? - tune) and JIAO Yang in 'Jumping Over' (a short 'muscle man - body beautiful show-off' piece reminiscent of Nijinska's athletes in 'Les Biches' of the lead bather in 'Train Bleu.'

* Among seniors, I thoroughly enjoyed four pieces...which happen to be the SHORTEST and least angst-ridden works on view:

- Beijing couple JIN Yao and ZHANG Yao in a moving pdd involving the exchange of a loose white shirt between the two of them...he wears it & puts it on her a certain way, she then takes it off & puts it on him a different way...clever manipulation of a prop.

- Beijing's Mr. KE Da in a work that (I swear!) was announced as titled 'Constipation'....must be a mis-translation! Anyhow, there was nothing constipating about it. It's danced to an Afro-percussive beat & the leitmotif is a shuffling-forward step performed in demi-plie, 2nd position. Audience loved it. Nice & shot & effective.

- Mr. LI Jun of Beijing in 'Broken Heart' - in which he portrays a 'company man' who gets fed up with sitting in his office & the daily routine. In the end, he takes off his tie & pulls out a gun & shoots himself. Oddly, the audience laughed & cheered when this happened...I guess that it took us all by surprise.

- Hungary/POB's Sophie Parczen as a delightfully flirty mademoiselle in black miniskirt & stockings and flower-print top, in 'Holding Your Own.'


Junior Girls - 10 girls danced last night. To me, the real stand-outs were:

YUAN Wenqi (Shanghai) - gracious Giselle Act I solo, with spot-on turns

XING Dongting (Liaoning...I think that's the name of this girl...hard to understand!) - wonderful ballon in both the classical & modern. Special surprise to see her commendable job in Ashton's version of Lise's solo, in FILLE!

YAO Wei (Shanghai) This incredibly beautiful girl is a huge fave...winner of Gold Medal in the recent Helsinki IBC...and she did not let down her hometown fans last night. Wonderful PAQUITA Harp variation - except that I could not detect the entrechats at the start; she simply leaped up & didn't cross he feet in entrechat, an BOTH instances wehen it occurs in the choreography. other than that, she was perfection, especially the tough middle section of pirouettes into 'back chugs' switch of feet, like many women do. Sexy & effective in an otherwise banal modern work.

ZHANG Mingqiang...again, I was straining for the name...(Beijing). The word for thistall beauty is 'dreamy.' She folated in both her classical (Raymonda dream solo) and modern (a sleepwalker in a beige negligee) solos. the for the highly-praised FANG Zhongyang (2000 Prix lausanne gand prix winner, etc. from Shanghai), I was quite disappointed with her Raymonda pizzicatto solo...faulty finish to all her pirouettes...blah presentation, etc. Cute modern solo in a long red-silk nightgown with gold bodice to Gorshwin's 'It Aint Necessarily So.'

Junior Men - Many boys who were great in the modern piece had major problems with the classical. Hence, I give my personal endorsement to only one jr boy from last night, who gave two fine performances:

LI Ye (Guangzhou/Canton) - AMAZING James in Bournonville's SYLPHIDE! WOW-WOW-WOW!!!! High leaps, neat beats, and - best of all - he was actually connecting with the audience and seemed to be enjoying himself! Bravo! He's the dancer mentioned earlier in the effective 'Broken heart' modern solo in which he shoots himself and causes chuckles among audience...

Senior Women - Two standouts and one 'so-so's' among the five sr women of tonight:

JIN Yao (Beijing - danced as a pair) - sultry dark looks and beautifully-chiselled 'Vaganova-curve legs.' She survived horrendous partnering by her male counterpart in 'Gnd Pas Classique' and was spot on in the solo of that pdd. Audience cheered her for having overcome the obstacle of the partner. Both she & partner were nice in that duet with the white shirt, described above.

Zsofia Dora Parczen...a.k.a. Sophie Parczen of the POB corps (representing her native Hungary here) - Another magnificent Grand Pas Classique female solo...probably better than the Chinese girl because Sophie added a calm-grace and charm, engaging the audience with flirty looks and such.

So-so among sr women was a highly touted fave, WEN Fang (Beijing - 98 Varna bronze medal as a junior) - too wide ribcage and shortish legs; however, rock-solid technique in Corsaire pdd solo YET traveled half-way to Hong Kong in her fouettes in the coda. Alas, this was, all in all, another Beijing couple with shoddy male partner, last night. Another fine female soloist not best served by the male...Too bad.

and finally....

Senior Men - for me, only one standout among six sr men performing last night:

HAO Bo (Beijing) - good high leaps in 'Acteon' solo...wish he would 'connect' with audience a bit more, though. On the other hand, he was magnificent in his modern piece, 'Revolving' which featured his zippy, crist, centered pirouettes.

Tonight come the final group of Round Two competitors, including the USA/Kirov Academy's Danny Tidwell. Ciao!

- Jeannie

Share this post

Link to post

RE: How many non-chinese competitors in Shanghai IBC?

There used to be 28 non-chinese competitors. 3 from France,2 from Japan,3fom Karea,4 from Ukraine, 5 from American( one of the girl is Japanese-American), 2 from Rassia, 1 from Hungary.1 from Czech,1 from kazakstan, 2 from Moldova, 1 from Mongolia,1 from Slovenia , 1 from Austria,

3 from Vietnam. But for some reason, the exact number of non-chinese competitors who attend the competition is 20. (the player from Czech, Kazakstan,Moldova, Mongolia and Austria quit the competition before the Round One.

On the other hand, most of those 20 non-chinese competitors are not the best ballet dancers in their country while some Chinese competitors are the best dancers in their tours. And tell the truth, the Japanese and Korea and Hongkongnese did not do a job in the competition. Therefore, in the 2nd Round, it trends to be a "local" competition.

I believe, in the final round. the non-Chinese competitors will only be Maria Abashova --Ukraine, Daniel Tidwell--USA (Jinior) and Anton Bogov--Slovenia, Zsofia Dora--Hungary(Senior). By that time, it looks more like a "local" competition,esp. b/t Shanghai and Beijing

Share this post

Link to post

Leah-huang, thanks for your explanation. It is a pity that eight of the 28 non-Chinese competitors didn't attend the IBC in the end. Still I am curious as to why this IBC in Shanghai hasn't attracted more competitors from other countries.

Share this post

Link to post

hello, Kevin. I am Wa Wa on Xueshan' BBS.

As per your question. I think Shanghai IBC is quite new (it is just the 2nd time.) It is not famouse and the very key point is that it hasn't got good reputation in the world. So it is not attractive enough for some dancers in other countries. Even those competitors who attend the competition this time are not top dancers in their country. So it is still a very LONG road for us to make Shanghai IBC to be a real INTERNATIONAL Ballet competition like Verna and Helsinki.

What do you think?

Share this post

Link to post

Thank you so much Jeannie and Wa Wa.

I would like to talk a little more about the issue LBC.

Wa Wa and her friends have posted the list of the dancers who actually danced in the first round.

There were surely more dancers from Shanghai than from other places (2 girls and 2 boys in senior section, and 18 girls and 10 boys in Junior). It is easier for the local dancers to attend the IBC, but I think the most important thing is that the Shanghai people take this IBC more seriously. While the National Ballet of China only sent their second ranking dancers to the IBC (Varna Gold medallist Zhu Yan, Moscow Gold Zahng Jian and Wang Qimin, Helsinki Gold and Moscow Bronze Han Bo all missed this IBC), the local Shanghai has sent its best dancers, including the Varna Gold Medallists Fan Xiaofeng and Sun Shenyi. So, I think the local Shanghai is trying their best to keep the level of this IBC. I pay respect to their effort and will never be surprised if the "local" Yao Wei get a gold medal, because she is really an excellent dancer, and has already won Prix de Lausanne and a gold medal in Helsinki.

On the other hand, I think the local organizer should pay more attention and efforts to improve their "public service" to make the competition more "IBC" like.

[ 08-17-2001: Message edited by: Hu Xinxin ]

Share this post

Link to post

Good morning from beautiful Shanghai!

Quick answers & comments to the above posts, before I write my report on last night's events.

I honestly believe that the biggest problem with this IBC has been the lack of quick-response communications. Last summer, there was a 'blitz' of publicity surrounding this competition at Varna....glossy brochures passed out...a slick website opened. Big to-do about the competition being held in the gorgeous new opera house of this city - the Shanghai Grand Theater (where Round 3 was to have been held, in addition to opening & closing galas). Lots of dancers and journalists got excited about this.

Then the communications stopped. I know of three specific instances where young dancers -- students of Tatiana Legat in Boston-- tried to enroll in the competition and their e-mails and faxes were ignored. Same thing with the international press. I began my e-mail communications with IBC staff last answer (even though I always attached a 'router search' to all e-mails to confirm that they were received at the other end). I wrote multiple e-mails to different people named in that slick brochure that was distributed at Varna. Finally one e-mail answer in MAY - three months after my initial e-mail request! Without going into nitty-gritty details, I was never informed of vital details...such as the fact that the VENUES of this competition had changed! Were it not for one 'angel' who sent me a fax the day before I departed DC to China, I would have showed up at the wrond theater. I kid you not...that sort of thing.

This is really sad because I honestly believe that the depth of balletic talent in China is extremely rich. Shanghai is a world-class city with magnificent theaters, intelligent public, lots of hospitality and warmth. But the IBC folks really need to get their act together when it comes to communications - not only corresponding with dancers, journalists, etc....but also making available something as basic as a simple printed programme or leaflet to the audience, showing names of dancers, numbers to be danced, choreographers, etc. Even if not in a western language - for goodness sakes, how about a little printed leaflet in Mandarin??? But, no, this is apparently all 'top secret.'

OK - enough of that. Last night's competition was spectacular...especially for this American who saw Danny Tidwell soar above the rest and electrify the audience!

[ 08-17-2001: Message edited by: Jeannie ]

Share this post

Link to post

Notes on Round Two/Day Two - August 17, 2001:

The second half of the round two competitiors performed last night. The greatest excitement for the audience lay in the big rivalry between two stellar senior-level pairs from Shanghai and Beijing.

Jr Men -

For this American, the highlight of the evening was the soaring performance of the USA's one remaining competitor -- Danny Tidwell of Washington, DC's Kirov Academy of Ballet, who has just soared to the top of the Junior Men's category...besting even my big favorite from China in Round One, Huang Yi. Tidwell -- a caramel-skinned dancer with a bit of Jose-Manuel Carreno in his face and a dash of Rasta Thomas in his style -- set the audience at the Shanghai Art Theater on fire and sent this city spinning on its tail with his HOT-HOT-HOT modern dance, titled "SNAKE," shaking his hips in tight black shiny pants and performing lightning-fast pirouettes and jazzy jetes. The audience howled and I was right there with them. [choreographer unknown - no printed programs or announcements - perhaps it is Danny's own choreography or even that of Rasta Thomas? It is very 'Rasta-ish.']

Oh...and I almost forgot to mention that Danny was brilliant - technically perfect and full of macho charisma - in his classical variation: Ali in Corsaire. Much more secure than his two Round One variations (Coppelia and Flames of Paris), which were short of perfect.

Also wonderful among Jr Men:

- HUANG Yi of Shanghai - a classical god as Albrecht in Giselle. A tall, lean, and handsome dancer. He's the one who so impressed me in Round One with his endless string of entrechats-six at the end of Paquita variation. A born Bluebird...I hope that he dances Bluebird tonight for Round 3.

- WU Hushing, also of Shanghai. He appears to be very young...a baby-faced Albrecht tonight. The technique is not all there, yet, but he shows enormous promise with his natural grace, elegance, and lean body. And that face!!!

Overview of this category - It is now a tight race for gold between Danny Tidwell, HUANG Yi and LI Ye (the wonderful James-Sylphide in the previous night)

Junior Girls - There were four stand-outs among the eight performers last night.

- Korea's Soo-Young CHO - soared as Gamzatti with high jetes and picture-perfect middle segment of double-pirouettes in shaky poses.

- YU Fanglin of Shanghai - tall elegant beauty in the Raymonda clapping variation. I also loved her real Lilac Fairy in Round One.

- Maria ABASHOVA of Ukraine sizzled in Kitri's castanets solo (end of Act I), although her stag leaps weren't quite as high and spectacular as I've seen them performed by others.

- DENG Mi of Beijing - gentle elegance & perfect classical positions in Aurora Act III solo.

Overview of this category: I still give the gold medal of YAO Wei of Shanghai, who performed the previous night. Nobosy comes close, IMO.

Senior Men - two excellent performers last night in this category:

- Anton Bogov (Slovenia) - soared as Solor...OK in pirouettes, if not outstanding. But his jumping can carry him to a medal.

- SUN SHenyi - one half of the glorious Shanghai pair who won gold in Varna last year and are on their way to more gold here. SUN delivered in every respect last night, in the CORSAIRE pdd with his partner FAN Xiaofeng. He is a steady secure partner, as well as brilliant soloist.

On the other hand, other top faves had troubles last night...such as the male half of the top Beijing pair, LI Jun, whose solo in the Giselle pdd was full of errors in landings, which he 'saved' thanks to his 'cat feet'...but errors nonetheless. Wildest of all was his final pose in his solo - flubbed the pirouette and had trouble steadying himself in the final pose on the he pulled a quick change in the choreography and sank to the floor (it was hilarious). On the other hand, he was a wonderful partner in adagio.

Russia's lone survivor to Round 2 - Albert Davydov - exploded onto the stage in Flames of Paris, then flubbed his pirouette, only to nod his head & milk the crowd for some applause. Also, I find his always-wide-open hands distracting.

Overview of this category: The gold is between BOGOV and SUN, plus last night's sr male stand-out, HAO Bo (who performed Acteon).

Senior Women - The obvious stand-outs last night were the women in the top Shanghai and Beijing another surprise from Beijing.

WU Haiyan of Beijing - Giselle pdd...gorgeous positions - light - floating. Nothing exaggerated or over-extended. A real gem. This was in wonderful contrast to her Round One Kitri. Better variety, so far, in her selections than that from the top Shanghai female.

FAN Xiaoweng of Shanghai - Medora in Corsaire pdd. Unlike WU Haiyan, a real 'queen' in her commanding presence...but a bit 'prima donna' perhaps? Tonight, much steadier fouettes in the coda, in contrast to Round One's weak fouettes.

The young Beijing dancer, MENG Ningning, was also wonderful in Flower Festival pdd. Delightful presentation - clean technique. IAfter her problems in Round One I was amazed that she continued to Round Two...but she certainly earned her spot tonight. Possible bronze meda???

Overview of this category - Beside the three Chinese ladies cited above, I see as possible medalists JIN Yao of Beijing (who danced beautifully the previous night despite a poor partner) and Hungary's Zsofia Parcsen (of POB - with picture-perfect classical variations in Rounds One and Two). IMO, the highly-touted WEN Fang of Beijing shouldnt pass to Round Three...but she'll probably be there.

Ciao for now! - Jeannie

[ 08-19-2001: Message edited by: Jeannie ]

Share this post

Link to post

Many thanks, Jeannie. Our friends in Shanghai report: Jeannie was like an off-stage super star last night.

Kevin, sorry that I forgot to answer your question:

NBC will tour USA after Giselle.

Correction: Giselle will be on September 7,8, 9, and US tour will be from September 25. Canada tour was canceled.

BTW, Jeannie,

Li Jun is boy friend of Wang Qiming (gold medallist you saw in Moscow) and used to be her partner. But he was injured before the competition.

[ 08-17-2001: Message edited by: Hu Xinxin ]

Share this post

Link to post

Xinxin, do you know what repertory the National Ballet of China will show in America, and what cities will be toured? I only know that Minnesota is one of the stops. I will see them again next March when they perform "Red Lantern" in Hong Kong.

Share this post

Link to post

Report on Round Three - August 18, 2001

I just returned to the hotel/internet cafe after tonight's Round Three competitions. As hubby & I have an all-day excursion to the city of Hangzhou tomorrow (about 2-3 hrs drive south of Shanghai), I am typing this report very quickly, around 11:30 pm Saturday night.


* Surprise - surprise! The IBC set up a small 'press room' in the back of the Shanghai Art Theater lobby, making available the list of tonight's contestants...i.e., those who passed on to Round Three. The only huge omission, IMO & other fans, is Hungary's Zsofia Dora Pasrcsen (of POB corps) who mysteriously failed to make Round 3. All other favorites progressed.

* I have to laugh at Xinxin's comment about my being the off-stage star. Well...let's say that I proudly displayed the colours of nations of my favorites! Yes, my husband and I came with flags of the USA (for Danny), Hungary (for Zsofia) and the PRChina (for umpteen favorites). We really got the rooting sections going!!! There's a follow up to all this - tonight's competition was televised nationally and guess who was interviewed on Chinese TV??? Moi! I sure hope that one of my Beijing or Shanghai friends got this on video...hint-hint!


Senior Ladies -

WU Haijen of Beijing was the best, IMO, dancing ESMERALDA pdd with LI Jing. They gave me goosebumps in the adagio, they were smooth as silk. WU danced the Ben Stevenson version of the tambourine solo - middle section of double pirouettes in attitude instead of simple 'slide-around' on the feet. She was simply brilliant and displayed great personality. This, I think, gives her the edge for gold over the also-wonderful FENG Xiaofeng - the pride of Shanghai.

- FENG was also lovely, in Gnd Pas Classique with pasrtner SUN SHenyi...who, I think , will win Sr men's Gold. FENG, though, displayed a tiney bit of nervousness in her solo...not quite taking command of the stage, as did WU. We'll see which of the two women wins gold.

- Bronze will be a toss-up between the young Beijing ballerina WENG Ningning - wonderful in DON Q pdd despite shortish partner YU BO - and JIN Jao (also of Beijing) who is a very elegant mature stylist, tonight in DIANA & ACTEON pdd with ZHANG Yae.

I find it hard to believe that the other sr ladies in the finals, WANG Jitong, JIN Jia and YU Xiaowei, bested Sophie Parcsen...but...

Sr. Men:

- SUN Shenyi of Shanghai all the way. He alone, among the various pas de deux partners/sr men soloists, was 'clean' neat & elegant in all aspects.

- Anton BOGOV may challenge for a gold, probably a tie with SUN. Bogov exploded in Flames of Paris tonight, igniting the crowd.

- KE Da may challenge for a medal. He gets better & better with each round - wonderful tonight in Bayadere Solor.

Jr Girls -

- YAO Wei all the way...nobody close. She was absolutely gorgeous - physically & technically - as Esmeralda in tambourine dance.

- the gentle DEN Mi, YI Failing and Ukraines's Maria Abushova may also cop medals.

Jr Boys -

Now the sad part for me, as USA's Danny TIDWELLL was not as brilliant as before...he'll be lucky to medal. He seemed lost in his DON Q solo.

- Loook for the elegant HUANG Yi to win top honors with LI Ye also at the top.

- Jeannie

Share this post

Link to post

Jeannie, I look forward to seeing your interview on Chinese TV.

[ 08-18-2001: Message edited by: Kevin Ng ]

Share this post

Link to post

Thanks, Kevin. I got your messages by the way...hope that Wa-Wa &/or Xin-Xin contacted you.

The gala - also televised - was last night. Full list of winners follows. A few surprises...but most of my senior-level predictions were spot-on. Juniors brought the main surprises - a delight in Jr Boys (for this American face is red for selling Danny Tidwell short after round three!) and a bit of a shocker in Jr Girls (the clear fave for me was topped by someone who didn't really impress me at all throughout the competition).

List of medalists in the next post.

Share this post

Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0