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Shanghai IBC-2001 reports from Jeannie

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The modernistic, glass-and-steel Shanghai Grand Theater was the setting last night for a televised Gala, in which the winners of the 2nd Shaghai IBC were announced. The awards ceremony was produced in a showy 'Oscars' manner complete with the Chairman of the Jury asking 'The envelope, please' as the drum rolled in the background. As winners came forward to collect trophies, the Radetzky March was played. The awards portion was followed by a performance of comepetition-variations from each winner...with dry-ice pumping in the background and other special effects. All in all, a slickly-produced, tight show running no longer than 1 and one-half hours.

THE WINNERS:

Grand Prix ($10,000) - no prize given this year

Senior Women:

Gold - WE Haiyan of Beijing - my top choice...who displayed tremendous versatility throughout the competition. Ethereal Giselle - frisky Kitri - seductive Esmeralda. WE Haijan would be a magnificent addition to any international-class ballet troupe. Gorgeous dancer...not overly tall & hyper-expended; very 'Makarova' in her physique and ethereal manner. Expressive & emotional dancer.

Silver - FAN Xiaofeng of Shanghai - tall and sleek dancer who is a tad reserved in showing emotion on her face. This 2000 Varna IBC gold medalist was obviously disappointed...and her adoring Shanghai home-town fans a bit sedate. But this was a very tough fight between two highly talented & very different ballerinas.

Bronze - JIN Jao of Beijing - the curvy ballerina who 'survived' a near-disastrous drop by her partner in Round 2.

Senior Men:

Gold - SUN SHenyi of Shanghai - Tall and elegant. Attentive partner (to FAN Xiaofeng). Expressive. The 2000 Varna IBC Sr men's gold medalist repeats those honors here.

Silver - KE Da of Shanghai - This relatively unknown dancer has gained many fans throughout this week, with three excellent rounds of dancing, topped by Rnd 3 Solor in Bayadere which will remain in my mind for a long time.

Bronze - Anton BOGOV of Slovenia - Tall and powerful dancer, yet with plenty of finesse. A big audience favorite throughout the event.

Jr Girls:

Gold - FANG Zhenjing of Shanghai - From the get-go, local balletomanes told me that this contest would be between FANG and another Shanghai ballerina, YAO Wei. FANG won Prix de lausanne Gnd Prix last year...YAO won Helsinki IBC gold two months ago. I admit that I far prefered that gutsy and mercurial 'prima donna' among the two, YAO Wei, over the somewhat bland (to me) and error-ridden technique of the reed-thin FANG. But Fang won...and I salute her.

Silver - YAO Wei - the queen of this competition, for me. Would be a star of ABT of any other top company in the world. Charisma to the nth degree - a gorgeous sex-bomb beauty - did not falter in technique for one minute. I'm still scratching my head over this decision but that-is-that. YAO Wei wins my personal crown.

Bronze - DENG Mi of Beijing - The delicate porcelaine-princess Aurora. I had my eye on her from the beginning. So happy to see that calm, elegant perfection is rewarded.

Jr Boys - ...now for the fun part...

Gold - no award

Silver - DANIEL TIDWELL of the USA (Wash, DC's Kirov Academy of Ballet) - Although I feared that Danny had lost ground with a slightly-underdanced DON Q variation in Rnd 3...in retrospect, he truly was the best all around, pulling together three solid rounds of performances...especially in Round 2, where he totally electrified the audience with a powerful Ali var from CORSAIRE and his 'killer modern dance' in slinky black pants, 'SNAKE.' If Danny continues his progress he can become one of the 'greats'. The face & charm of Jose-Manuel Carreno with the pizzazz of Rasta Thomas. Kudos to Danny and to his coach from KAB, Vladimir Djouloukhadze.

Bronze - TIE in this category for two talented young men from the little-known ballet academy of Liaoning, in Shenyang province: JIAO Yang and LV meng. Remember my praises of the two lads in the contemporary round? Well deserved medals.

As the awards ceremony was not fully translated AND, as usual, no press releases provided in English (not that I could find, anyhow), I was unable to get all of the names of the winners of nimor awards. here are some that I could hear:

- Best Contemporary Choreography: for 'FATE' - the pas de deux in which a loose white shirt in cleverly passed between a man and a woman. Danced by the Beijing couple JIN Jao (bronze medal) and ZHANG Yae. Name of choreographer never put in print, so I cannot cite; impossible to hear over louspeaker last night. Perhaps one of our Chinese readers can provide the name of this choreographer?

- Best Couple - Shanghai's FAN Xiaofeng and SUN Shenyi

- Hope Prizes for young dancers - won by five jr-level finalists...Anna Shepelyeva of Ukraine, and four Chinese boys whose names I could not hear...except for SHI Chao (I think). Again, perhaps our Chinese friends can fill in the gaps.

- A prize - I don't know quite what - was also given to a young French dancer from the Jr Girls category: Klara Houdet. She is not from POB, I know, but is nonetheless quite talented, in a showy style (huge jetes, for example). Estelle or Catherine/Francoise, do you know of her?

Thus ended the 2nd Shanghai IBC - the first was held in 1995 - the next is promised for 2002, just two years from now. It was great fun - a pleasure and honor, in fact, to have been here. Long live China's flowering art of ballet, and its incredibly talented dancers. They're out to conquer the world!

My travels through China are just beginning...on to Guilin & the scenic karst-mountains region tomorrow, via a 30-hour train trip (this time in comfy sleeper ¬ 'hard seat' like my train from Beijing to Shanghai!)...then the ancient walled capital of Xi'an...then following the Silk Route on steam locomotives to the northwest Muslim territory. What a country - what a people! I'll try my best to find internet cafes and post a thing or two in the coming weeks but, if not, I'll resume communications back in DC in mid-September. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

- Jeannie Szoradi

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

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What an adventurous trip, Jeannie! Thank you for the reports and wishing you a safe and exciting voyage for the rest!

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I don't know where is Klara Houdet but she was at POB school of dance when she was younger. I don't remember when she left POB school. She makes Cupid alternating with Adrien Bodet in Les Caprices de Cupidon, some years ago.

Marie-Solène Boulet, Hervé Moreau, Mallory Gaudion were the stars of the 1st division and danced Daphnis et Chloe alternating two second division pupils named Eleonora Abbagnato and Nicolas Paul.

It's all the information I can give for the moment. Sorry :confused:

[ 08-20-2001: Message edited by: Françoise ]

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Many thanks, Jeannie. Yao Wei is really an excellent dancer. She is very smart. I think she will be another Tan Yuan Yuan.

Have a nice trip and do take care.

Kevin, NBC will do Yellow River and La Sylphide in USA.

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Thank you Jeannie for your report and have a nice trip!Are you going to attend the next Varna , Paris IBC?

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A quick message from the southern city of Guilin, nestled among the lovely karst mountains. The 26-hr train trip from Shanghai was amazing; we went from flatlands with rice paddies to tropical hills rimmed by palm and banana trees.

Interesting dance-related note: the Chinese population seems to be really into dancing. Old and young alike practice some sort of dance in groups, at public parks or along the waterfronts.Groups of old ladies practice a form of martial arts with big red fans...teenagers take western-style ballroom dance lessons, etc.

- Jeannie

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Jeannie, a quick note to say, thanks for all your China posts -- hope you're having a great time.

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Thank you very much Jeannie for the reports. Have a good time in China!

Congratulation Dan Tidwell and the excellent ballet-masters of the Washington Kirov Academy, who discovered his talent and helped him to win. I have heard that he has danced classical ballet only for three years. It's fantastic!

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The Shanghai Ballet will perform Derek Deane's production of Swan Lake in Hong Kong and other Chinese cities at the end of this year. I don't have the exact dates yet.

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Jeannie:

You enjoyed your stay in China?

Unfortunately we could not see you on TV, but managed to make copies of Shanghai IBC (the final and gala) for you. Please call Helen when you come back to Beijing (if you can read this msg), so that she can pass the videotapes to you (I will be attending a meeting today and tomorrow).

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Xinxin,

Is it possible to buy this Shanghai IBC tape or VCD in either Shanghai or Beijing? I know several of my frineds would like to watch this final competition program and gala performance. If you have any info please e-amil to mdwinc@earthlink.net, thanks.

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Hi,chieme, the video tape or VCD is not for sale in China yet. One of our Shanghai friend made the recording from the television. I wonder which city you are? I have one colleague who will travel to US next week, will stop in L.A. If I make a copy for you, is it possible for you to collect it in her hotel in L.A.? Please feel free to contact me: mh_chen1@yahoo.com

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Follow-up on China...now that I am back home & the tragedy of last week has subsided:

* Thanks to all who responded to my reports; glad that you enjoyed them!

* Xinxin, Wawa, Helen & others who have written to me: I will be responding to you privately on various matters.Please forgive my tardiness! ;) My plans changed & I remained in Xinjiang province (the western part of China) through Sept 9 and only passed through Beijing on my way back to DC. Sorry to have missed you.

* Internet links/communications were 'iffy' once I left eastern & central China & traveled to the west. For example, I tried numerous times to log into Ballet Alert from an internet cafe in Xian and was blocked by the local server.

* Yes -- I absolutely fell in love with China, as a whole, and with Xinjiang Province in particular. China is a land replete with beauty and artistic refinement on many fronts....from the architectural wonders of the east (the Great Wall, palaces, etc.) to the landscape along its mighty rivers...to the delicious Alpine-like mountains and sultry oases of the north-west. Dance is in the hearts of its people -- not just the majority 'Han' Chinese but also the many minorities that I saw in the west -- the Uyghurs, Kazaks, Uzbeks, etc. There is tremendous opportunity for economic development projects in Urumqi, Kashi, Turpan (the YUMMIEST grapes on earth!) , Hami, and other towns on the ancient 'Silk Route.' How sad that immediate involvement by my company is on-hold for the time being...but I trust that common sense will prevail in our world and that it will be possible to resume normal travel in Central Asia soon. I feel utterly frustrated by the inability to put my ideas into motion right now but that's nothing compared to the losses suffered by countless others in NY, DC & elsewhere.

* I'm in the process of publishing an article on my travels on the Silk Route so I'll keep details to myself, but anyone who wishes to ask me specific questions on either the ballet competition or 'China Travel Tips' can write to me at szoradi@erols.com [Not that I expect anyone to jump on a plane anytime soon, given the tragedy of last week...]

Thanks again for your interest in my reports & feedback. God Bless America AND China!

[ 09-17-2001: Message edited by: Jeannie ]

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