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Shanghai IBC-2001 reports from Jeannie


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#16 Kevin Ng

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Posted 16 August 2001 - 11:02 PM

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.

#17 Guest_leah-huang_*

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Posted 16 August 2001 - 11:39 PM

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?

#18 Hu Xinxin

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Posted 16 August 2001 - 11:54 PM

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 ]

#19 Natalia

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Posted 17 August 2001 - 07:15 PM

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 January....no 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 ]

#20 Natalia

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Posted 17 August 2001 - 08:02 PM

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 attitude...no 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 knee...so 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 pairs...plus 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 ]

#21 Hu Xinxin

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Posted 17 August 2001 - 09:39 PM

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 ]

#22 Kevin Ng

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Posted 18 August 2001 - 10:47 AM

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.

#23 Natalia

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Posted 18 August 2001 - 11:01 AM

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.

QUICK PRE-NOTES:

* 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!

TONIGHT's COMPETITION SUMMARY, BY CATEGORY:

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

#24 Kevin Ng

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Posted 18 August 2001 - 11:27 AM

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

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

#25 Natalia

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Posted 19 August 2001 - 06:32 PM

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 fan...my 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.

#26 Natalia

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Posted 19 August 2001 - 07:12 PM

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 ]

#27 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 19 August 2001 - 08:09 PM

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

#28 Françoise

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 01:16 AM

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 ]

#29 Hu Xinxin

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Posted 20 August 2001 - 12:25 PM

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.

#30 Gallica

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Posted 21 August 2001 - 04:22 AM

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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