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San Francisco Ballet going to China
2009. 2 June
San Francisco Ballet will announce plans today for its first trip to China, including appearances in Shanghai, Suzhou and Beijing.
The three-week, three-city tour will begin Sept. 22 with a four-night appearance at the Shanghai Grand Theatre and conclude with performances at the Beijing Poly Theatre Oct. 1-3.
The three-week, three-city tour will begin Sept. 22 with a four-night appearance at the Shanghai Grand Theatre and conclude with performances at the Beijing Poly Theatre Oct. 1-3.The performances are part of official celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
The foray to Asia capitalizes on the troupe's geographic location and the fame of Shanghai-born principal dancer Yuan Yuan Tan, a hero in her homeland, said Ballet Executive Director Glenn McCoy. "We have particular interest in developing relationships in Asia, being the biggest ballet company on the Pacific Rim," McCoy said. "And of course Yuan Yuan is a very big star in China, and we're delighted she will have this homecoming."
Company staff members were in China last week finalizing details for the tour, which came together quickly after Chinese presenters Citystar Entertainment Ltd. approached the Ballet only two months ago. Major tours usually require more than a year to plan, but the Ballet's earlier fall tour plans had fallen through for financial reasons, and Star Group Entertainment wanted to bring the troupe ahead of the World Expo scheduled for Shanghai in 2010.
Though the presenter is footing most of the bill for the trip, the Ballet needed to raise nearly $1 million to cover transportation and other expenses. Board chair Richard C. Barker quickly tapped business connections in China for donations, McCoy said.
The Ballet will travel with the full company of more than 70 dancers and present two programs: Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson's 1988 "Swan Lake" (which has more-portable sets than the Tomasson production that premiered this year) and a mixed bill including works by George Balanchine, Tomasson and Christopher Wheeldon.
The China tour will have both practical value and historical significance, McCoy said.
"It's so important for our company to have some kind of performance activity after July 1, otherwise the dancers will do nothing but rehearse until 'Nutcracker,' " McCoy said. "And to be able to go at this particular time is very moving to us. We're honored that we're able to represent San Francisco and the U.S. during this period."Source:www.sfgate.com