Ballet San Jose announced today a five-week, eight-city tour to China scheduled for May and June, 2008. The company, under the direction of Artistic/Executive Director Dennis Nahat, will depart San Jose on May 17th (returning on June 24th) on a private 747 loaned to the ballet by Fry's Electronics.
The entire company of 44 dancers with a staff of 15 (including costumers, lighting designers, crew heads, and masseuse and doctors) will travel to Shanghai, Hongzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Beijing, Shenyang, and Dalian. Special VIP sponsors and guests will accompany the dancers and staff on their travels. This is the company's first international tour since it moved to San Jose from Cleveland in September, 2000 and only the second international tour in over 20 years.
Ballet San Jose will be the first American ballet company to tour this extensively throughout China.
Programs will include fully staged productions of THE FIREBIRD and CARMINA BURANA plus additional ballets by George Balanchine, Lew Christensen and Nahat.
The tour, named "Goodwill Tour From Silicon Valley", will include performances at the Grand Theater in Shanghai and the Poly Theater in Beijing.
"We will be the first American dance company to perform this extensively throughout China in it's newest and grandest theaters," Nahat reports. "In Shenzhen, the newest theater of them all, we will be the very first ballet company on that stage. These theaters are the centerpieces of their cities, where millions of people pass daily. We will be reaching out to the public with 'Ballet by Day,' a special educational program with dancers in our company from China acting as moderators. This is a new event that will help us reach many new audiences throughout China. We will also work with local schools and professional ballet companies incorporating young dancers into our productions. All rehearsals and classes will be open to the public. We want people to see how we work."
Nahat hopes that this will be only the first step in a series of tours not only to China but throughout the world. Tour requests for Ballet San Jose are coming from everywhere, including the United States. The Company has also established relationships with several Chinese dance companies and plans are being made to bring those companies to San Jose to perform. "Touring is life-blood in the theater," says Nahat. "It challenges the dancers, it 'sharpens their nails' so to speak. It expands our audience and our artists' abilities. And, it increases awareness of us at home. There are people in San Jose that do not realize that we are a full time company right here in their midst. But when international news services report on your travels...when major national publications do stories about you, suddenly, the man-on-the-street stands up and takes notice. Many times, that which is right in front of your eyes or in your own back-yard is not readily recognized. Touring helps change that."
In recognition of Ballet San Jose's goodwill efforts and good business through the arts, the company has received a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature and a Commendation from the City of San Jose as well as formal recognition by the Beijing Polar Bear Culture Development Company.
More information about the Tour.