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Subject: "Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Kevin Ng

10-12-01, 03:56 PM (GMT)
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"Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review"
 
   The Shanghai Ballet gave two performances last week at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre of a new production of "Swan Lake" which was premiered during the Shanghai International Ballet Competition last August. This Chinese production was supervised by Derek Deane, the former artistic director of the English National Ballet.

Hong Kong audiences had already seen Deane's arena version of "Swan Lake" which ENB performed at the Hong Kong Convention Centre in 1999. Deane last year did another version of "Swan Lake" for ENB which is not in the round. I saw it once last January at the London Coliseum led by Thomas Edur and Agnes Oaks. It is this more recent and more satisfying production that the Chinese company acquired. Peter Farmer's beautiful sets and costumes have been faithfully reproduced.

The choreography mainly follows the Royal Ballet's previous production based on Nicholas Sergeyev's notations. Deane has also included two gems by Ashton, namely his virtuosic Neapolitan dance in Act 3 originally created for Wayne Sleep, and also his pas de quatre in Act 3 which here replaces the pas de trois in Act 1. I don't understand however why the traditonal pas de trois hasn't been retained. Prince Siegfried has a solo at the end of Act 1 choreographed by Deane, which is inferior to Rudolf Nureyev's choreography in the Paris Opera Ballet's production.

Deane has added a prologue showing Odette's transformation into a swan. The last act's choreography is entirely Deane's, while it would have been preferable if he could have used Ashton's choreography which is more poetic, or even better Lev Ivanov's authentic choreography in Dowell's production for the Royal Ballet.

Overall this Shanghai production is superior to the Hong Kong Ballet's production by Stephen Jefferies which was revived in September. It is more coherent both in terms of drama and the choreography.

Furthermore, the dancers of this Chinese company have a better schooling, and the corps de ballet has a stylistic uniformity missing from the Hong Kong company. The Swan Queen on the night I saw was danced by Fan Xiao-feng, who has a long line. Fan is temperamentally more suited to Odette than Odile. Her technique is quite dazzling; she threw in some double fouettes in the coda of the Black Swan pas de deux.

Her Prince was Sun Shenyi, who strongly partnered her. In his variation in Act 3, Sun finished all his three double tours en l'air in a fifth position, which was impressive. The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra provided good accompaniment.


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review Tim Powell 10-12-01 1
  RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review alison 10-12-01 2
  RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review Ted 11-12-01 3
  RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review Helen Chen 11-12-01 4
     RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review Kevin Ng 11-12-01 5

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Tim Powell

10-12-01, 04:25 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review"
In response to message #0
 
   Kevin
A small point but I thought that the Neapolitan in Act 3 was created by Alexander Grant with Julia Farron as his partner?
Wayne did come back and dance the role after he left for Song and Dance.


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alison

10-12-01, 05:45 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review"
In response to message #0
 
   I think the waltz is Ashton as well.


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Ted

11-12-01, 03:41 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review"
In response to message #0
 
   Kevin,
I am not sure that the Neapolitan Dance was the Ashton version as the two dancers did not have the tambourines with them during the first half of the dance. In fact, they had the tambourines threw at them towards the end of the dance which was in exact reverse to the Ashton version.
Whilst I agree with you that Fan Xiaofeng was better in Odile and she did throw in some doubles in her fouettes, her acting was very limited and she finished her fouettes well before the music.
The role of Rothbart was a merely walk on and walk off one and his makeup reminded me of a Peking Opera singer.
Finally, I fail to see the purpose and benefit in comparing the dancers of the Shanghai Ballet with those of the Hong Kong Ballet. With limited resources and the absence of true public support (ballet has no root in Hong Kong), Stephen Jeffries is doing a marvellous job in keeping the company going. At any rate, the Shanghai Ballet can only be considered as a good regional ballet company and no more.


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Helen Chen

11-12-01, 03:44 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review"
In response to message #0
 
   Thanks, Kevin.

It is said that Shanghai Ballet spent Usd60,000 for Deane's Swan Lake. They are entitled to give 50 performances in 3 years, without the other companies performing this.

This is really a dear price for a local Chinese Ballet company.


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Kevin Ng

11-12-01, 05:05 AM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Derek Deane's Swan Lake for Shanghai Ballet - review"
In response to message #4
 
   LAST EDITED ON 11-12-01 AT 07:14 AM (GMT)

Tim, thanks for correcting me on Ashton's Neapolitan dance.

Ted, I was only comparing the Shanghai Ballet with Hong Kong Ballet, because the last time that Swan Lake was performed here was when the HK Ballet did it 3 months ago. I agree that both are only regional companies at best.


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