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Episode 1: http://tv.sohu.com/20100113/n269544249.shtml , http://tv.sohu.com/20100113/n269544340.shtml

Episode 2: http://tv.sohu.com/20100113/n269544429.shtml , http://tv.sohu.com/20100113/n269544462.shtml

Episode 3: http://tv.sohu.com/20100113/n269544501.shtml , http://tv.sohu.com/20100113/n269544555.shtml

Episode 4: http://tv.sohu.com/20100113/n269544592.shtml , http://tv.sohu.com/20100113/n269544631.shtml

This is a four part series documentary on the Central Ballet of China. (approx 8 hours) It was made in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary. The first part is on the history of the red detachment of women featuring three generations of its dancers. The second part is on the raise the red lantern and the film shadows the entire process. The fourth is on the ballet in china and life in the central ballet of China. It features many interesting interviews and insights into the rigors of company life through the ranks. Though unfortunately there are no English subtitles.

For the non mandarin speaker, the thrid episode is the easist one to understand. It focuses on Roland Petit’s Carmen and details the company and its dancers struggle to put on this renowned work. Of especial value is the presence of Roland Petit throughout the entire process (from casting to performance), giving us a glance into his working style.

For the non mandarin speaker, this particular documentary primarily focuses on Zhu Yan, Zhan Jian, Yu Bo, Wang Qi Ming, Li Jun, Yu Bo, Meng Nining. According to the company’s director, Roland Petit has refused to grant the company permission to stage his works for many years until 2005. It then details the fight among the principal women and men for the two key roles in Carmen. At first he chooses, Zhan Jian as his Carmen. Later he turns to Zhu Yan. For the men he first uses Sun jie, then changes to Yu Bo as he is Zhu Yan initial partner, then brings in a guest from Houston Ballet before finally turning back to Yu Bo. We see Petit’s initial misgivings in letting the company stage his works and the dancer’s doubts in their own ability turn to trust and triumph.

This four part documentary is a refreshing and candid glimpse into the realities of staging a production, a dancer’s life-its trials and tribulations and most especially in the third part, competition. Because each part is granted enough air time, we are not short changed for some “reality show” effect instead all the dancers and their art are done justice throughout.

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I have watched all the programs and really enjoyed them. I agree that the third program which features Roland Petit and his repetiteur with the National Ballet of China is the easiest for non-chinese speakers. They speak some french, but mostly english, and this is then translated into chinese for the dancers by the interpreter.

I found the programs fascinating because they don't just show a single rehearsal, they show a progression/sequence of rehearsals leading towards the opening night.

The programs show the hard work and the routine and there are also injuries. What I missed, not speaking chinese, was an understanding of what the dancers feel about their career, e.g., how do they feel when they are on stage in front of an audience.

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This is a brief translation/summary of the first part of episode three. Though not a word by word or professional translation by any means, hope it helps for those that don't understand mandarin.

03:51 Zhu Yan

04:01 Zhan Jian

04:11 Wang Qi Ming

04:19 Meng Nining

05:39 Li Jun

07:21 Yu Bo

08:49 (Zhu) I started as an apprentice. When I finally got a chance to dance, I got injured. While resting at home, I set a 5-year plan, doing competition, becoming principle dancer...Calm down a while did help to think( one's future)

10:55 Mr Petit would attend Central Ballet performance to make a decision on casting.

13:05 3hrs before curtain up, Zhu hurts her feet in rehearsal.

20: Meng replaces Zhu for DQ. Since Meng hasn't dance the pas de deux with Yu for a long time, she's very nervous. Yu tries to pacify her, but becomes nervous too.

22:30 (Zhu) worried that the masters(choreographers) would only decide the cast on performance and not care about dancer's status or previous experience. ( since she couldn't make the performance due to sudden injury)

27:03 (Zhu) feels terribly lost in the wing, while watching others dancing in the spotlight. But says the positive competition could advance the dancing quality.

28:22 (Zhu)"We always try to be the best we can be but I know not everything is in my control"

28:50 Next day, with the injury, Zhu still comes to practice, cause she has heard Mr Petit would attend the 2nd night performance again.

31:53 (Zhu) " Ballet would never completely be in one's control, maybe that's why ballet is so charming. Have to keep on practicing all the time to be one's best."

However, Mr Petit didn't show up for 2nd performance.

38:23 (Meng) Once Zhu said, whenever she's left alone on stage while dancing Themes & Variations, she felt so lonely and helpless.

National Ballet started rehearsing Mr Petit comes in August.

48:04 (Meng) danced with much bigger and more sexy movement they ever did but still not to Mr Petit's standard.

53:07 (Zhu) feels a bit awkards the first time she watched Carmen video, knows it's her weak point. Knows she is not in her best state at the moment, but understands it also means she could be better.

53:57 (Zhan) felt the pressure to show technique and charactor's personality in dancing Mr petit's work, especially as she feels the pressure to live up to NBC's reputation.

60:47 13th Oct. am (Zhao, then director of National ballet of China) "Mr Petit assistant came today and Mr Petit would be here soon, better ajust and prepare yourselves".

61:47 (Wang and Zhu) surprised Mr Petit showed up much earlier than expected, and worries about having to dance for both Mr Petit and his assist.

(Lee) "I feel doomed".

69:38 (Zhan) "It felt extremely scary."

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Part 2

03:23 (Zhan) " Obviously, Mr Petit wants the dancers he chose to be able to interpret his work well. Everyone wants to dance well. If anyone questions why my dancing short of personality, I'll feel bad."

(Lee) "I just hope this whole thing will be over and done with. Now, I feel like I am treading on line everyday."

Mr Petit was not happy with the Carmen Cast A rehearsal, so he decides to see Carmen Cast B in pm same day.

04:41 (Zhu) feels like Mr Petit is paying more attention to her this time. She think its because she has slim down due to stress and lack of sleep.

2pm same day, Carmen Cast B rehearsal.

11:53 (Zhu) "We should try to surpass ourselves. And we have to have the belief to do it or it will be hard."

The following day, New Carmen cast A Zhu and Yu.

15:58 (Zhu) " It was out of my expectations. But if we prepare ourselves well, it's not accidental."

20:25 (Zhu) "Not too excited about being promoted to be cast A Carmen yet, cause it's not be finalized yet. And the pressure is even greater"

21:58 (Zhan) 'It's not that I did not work hard to meet the expectations. Ballet is a cruel profession and you can't always be perfect or get what you want just because you made the sacrifices ."

19th Oct a dancer Mr Petit chose for Carmen comes in from Houston Ballet.

30:29 2nd Nov.

35:17 Mr Petit decides rather unexpectedly to see Zhu and Yu danced Carmen again .

39:38 (Zhao) Mr Petit feels really touched by Wang's L

40:44 (Zhan) "No one can help you. (AS a dancer) The moments of suffering and pain are always more than those of glory and fame."

47:40 Mr petit kind of decides to make Yu dance Carmen China premiere

48:38 They ask the dancers to dance wild for the special occasion.

51:06 The girls feel sorry for the guest dancer who is not chosen for the premier, and at same time they worry that Yu will be too tired as he has to do the lead in both pieces.

62:13 (Zhan) If you didn't dance well enough others can tell and you feel embarrased both for yourself and for the company

(lee) It's hard to work for Mr Petit. He has such a strong personality, his one look is enough to kill . Yet we will give anything and evrything to achieve his vision. Whenever he watches us perform, he watches from the wings as if us and him are performing together.

70:19 (Zhu) "This is a turning point for me as it has matured me and allowed me to better understand things. You must always have the belief that you can surpass yourself."

71:18 (Zhan) "Competition is necessary. And though we compete professionally, off the stage we all respect and love each other."

(Yu) You have to practice, you must have strength. Otherwise the audience won't believe it. The audience come to watch you perform so even if it takes your last breath you must finish it well."

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Many thanks for the translation – it must have taken a long time!

It makes such a difference for me to understand the reactions of the dancers in the program. I'd thought that Zhu Yan was incredibly committed to her role in Carmen when she agreed to have her hair cut off in preparation for the performances. It hadn't occurred to me before that dancers can sometimes face the same demands as actors (who quite often have to change parts of their appearance for a role.)

I'm afraid I can't help out with the Bayadere translation – I don't speak russian either.

Thanks so much

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