the national ballet of china: THE PEONY PAVILION at the lowry

Image credit: The Lowry

The Lowry is set to host the prestigious National Ballet of China this November (22nd –26th) with a five-night run of one of the most enduring love stories in Chinese literature, The Peony Pavilion.

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Adapted from Tang Xianzu’s play of the same name, The Peony Pavilion is a ballet telling a 16th-century story of passion pitted against impossible odds, an Eastern contemporary of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The production is amongst their most in demand work and promises to be an evening of sumptuous spectacle and exquisite dancing featuring a company of over 70 dancers. Drawing on Chinese and Western influences, it will be an unforgettable evening of unique and enchanting ballet.

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Performed to the music of Debussy, Ravel, Holst and Prokofiev, the production is directed by Feng Ying, the company’s executive and artistic director; herself a well-known ballerina and ballet mistress in China.

The Peony Pavilion is presented by The Movement, an Arts Council England-supported dance producing partnership between Birmingham Hippodrome, The Lowry and Sadler’s Wells. Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “Securing the National Ballet of China was a real coup for The Movement. A 70-strong company, their work is truly epic – in both a visual and logistical capacity – and to see them perform is a real ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.”

As one of China’s biggest cultural exports, the National Ballet of China serves as a cultural envoy and prides itself on providing an important window to the nation. At home, the Company delivers an extensive educational programme to promote the art form in universities, communities and among children.

National Ballet of China History

The National Ballet of China was founded in December of 1959, is today regarded as one of the world’s leading ballet institutions. All of The National Ballet of China’s outstanding artists come from professional academies. During decades of care and support from the government and friends from all social sectors, the company has never ceased enriching its solid Russian foundations with works of different schools and styles. The company’s repertoire includes classics like Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Giselle, Carmen, Onegin, and The Little Mermaid, as well as original creations like The Red Detachment of Women, The New Year Sacrifice, Yellow River, Raise the Red Lantern, The Peony Pavilion, and The Chinese New Year. By both performing Western ballets and creating works of its own with distinct national characteristics, the company has found a successful path for the development of Chinese ballet. It is fusing the classical and the modern, and cultures from all over the world.

Over more than 50 years, the company is proud to have made great achievements in talent training and stage productions, as well as in ballet promotion and education. Numerous ballet dancers, choreographers, musicians and stage artists have won major international awards, and have collaborated with international stars in their respective fields. The company has a repertoire of nearly 200 ballets, several of which are now known as classic Chinese works of art, and have become famous internationally.

As a world-renowned company with great international influence, the National Ballet of China serves as a cultural envoy and an important window to the nation, spreading the essence of Chinese culture. Meanwhile, it also endeavors to present high-class performances to the Chinese audience, and to promote the art form in universities, communities and among children. In accordance with their motto “United, Pragmatic, Independent, and Enterprising”, the company members are following the steps of their hard-working predecessors to make great strides in realization of their dreams. Currently, Feng Ying, a well-known ballerina and ballet mistress in China is the Executive Director and the Artistic Director.

The Peony Pavilion. The Lowry, 22nd November – Sat 26th November

Click here for tickets.