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National Ballet of China lecture-demonstration in NYC


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f.y.i. (from a recently received email)

Feng Ying, Artistic Director of the National Ballet of China, will be
conducting a lecture-demonstration at Barnard College on Sunday,
February 28, from 4-5:30p.m. The event, which is open to the public,
will take place in 305 Barnard Hall.

Feng Ying will speak about classical ballet in China, and four dancers
from the National Ballet of China will demonstrate/perform.

There are no reservations for this event.

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my hunch that as a lecture demo. is that it might in the gym. the lecture hall upstairs is more limited seating, but if it needs space to move i suspect the gym is the likely location. that's where some Tharp lecture-demos were held.

if i hear anything more specific i'll post again.

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Kate Glasner, Co-Chair of Barnard College Dept of Dance, kicked off the event explaining how 18 days ago the event originated when a Chinese visitor to the Columbia Confucius Institute crossed the street and mentioned Madame Feng and a few dancers would be in town and would Barnard be interested in a session? She then introduced Madame Feng who spoke for 45 minutes with a slide show and there was also a translator who repeated (most) everything in English. The title of the presentation was Ballet in China: from Swan Lake to "Red" Ballet.

Madame Feng provided a history of ballet in China (only 60 years), beginning with the Empress Dowager sending someone to France, formal ballet introduction to China, founding of Beijing Dance School (BDS) in 1954, and how during the Cultural Revolution affected the progression of ballet. She went on to explain how the first Swan Lake was performed after only four years, with Bai Xinshiang the first O/O. She described the evolution of the repertoire, with the first "red ballet" created in 1964, The Red Detachment of Women.

Over the next hour there were a series of six dance excerpts, all in costume except one. She spoke of each one, the context of each piece in the repertoire, and also discussed certain use of gestures and hands, symbolism and cultural themes.

1. The Red Detachment of Women

2. Raise the Red Lantern

3. The Peony Pavilion

4. The Crane Calling

5. Kite Dance from Chinese Nutcracker

6. Caprice of Hurla Mountain (sp? not sure I got right)

In summary, Madame Feng explained that NBC is a tripod built of Western classics, contemporary works, and Chinese literary works NBC aims to appeal to local and global tastes and use ballet to tell the story of China. They want the Chinese contribution to ballet to be an exploration of combining Chinese aesthetics and culture with the Western world. It's fascinating how they are using this universal language to communicate Chinese history and culture.

Thanks again to rg for letting me know about this event. Thank you Barnard Dept of Dance! It was truly the opportunity of a lifetime!!!

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