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Subject: "Albanian Ballet in Beijing." Archived thread - Read only
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21-05-00, 07:52 PM (GMT)
Click to EMail Xinxin Click to send private message to Xinxin Click to add this user to your buddy list  
"Albanian Ballet in Beijing."
   LAST EDITED ON 24-May-00 AT 11:16 AM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 23-May-00 AT 09:24 AM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 23-May-00 AT 06:48 AM (GMT)

During the period of a Festival called "Meeting in Beijing 2000", many foreign artists came and gave their performances here. Among them were Royal Danish Ballet and Ballet de Monte-Carlo. There were some less known ones as well. Last Friday (May 19) I saw a performance by some Albanian dancers.
Albania used to be the special friend with P.R.China. During the period of "Culture Revolution", the only European movies that allowed in China were Albanian ones. Albanian Ballet visited China in 1970s and performed a Chinese ballet called "The Red Detachment of Women" side by side with the Central Ballet of China (now known as the National Ballet of China). But in recent years, we can get very little information from that country, except some news about the war.
I went to the theater and bought a ticket from a scalper at only 20RMB (about $2.2. The normal price of that ticket would be 120RMB). It was a small theater with about 1100 seats. There were some children and ballet students among the audiences, so I guessed many of them had come to the theater with free tickets.
I learnt from the program pamphlet that there were 11 dancers in the company. Two of them were professors of Tirane Dance Academy (they are dancers of the Albanian Opera and Ballet Company at the same time), and five of them were students. Some of the dancers have the educational background in Russia or the likes (two at Bolshoi, and two in Azerbaijan). One of them even got a Varna Silver in 1993. I don't have any knowledge about the relationship between Tirane Dance Academy and Albanian Opera and Ballet Company, but it seems to me that this was only a small group sent by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education(some government officials were in the list as well), instead of a real ballet company.
They danced with the taped music, apparently recorded in live performances at the theater (because sometimes we could hear applause and Bravi).
The first piece was "Chopin's Waltz". I think it was a part from "Les Sylphide". A handsome boy surprised me by the first lift. It was light and airy, with true classical style. The girl was tall, a little bit heavy on feet. I think they danced the piece in a very honest way, but technically quite poor. The second piece was "Death of Swan", performed by a girl not very tall. Her Pointe technique was not good but I liked her arms and the way she breathes and dances. Then there was "PDD from Nutcracker". They danced it in rather slow tempi. The girl could not dance the piece very well. The boy showed us pretty good turning technique though (But he was very poor in jumping). There was an accident: He was on the stage and waited for the music to begin his second variation, then we heard the music of Sleeping Beauty. When this was finished, the curtain was closed, then a piano appeared (rose from the bottom of the stage) and a beautiful lady with silver gray dress came to the stage and sat down and began to play Brahms's Ballad. I was very much surprised because no one had told me about this. I could not enjoy the music at all because the sound of the piano was very bad. After Brahms, there was a "Sleeping Beauty pdd" with a lovely couple. The girl was very pretty (even prettier than Julie Kent or Darcey Bussel) with long limbs, swan like neck and very high leg extension. She was young and with rather weak technique, but she danced in a very beautiful way and cut very pretty figures. She impressed me so much that I forgot what the boy looked like. Any way, this was the most enjoyable piece in that evening. Then followed by a piece called "Modern Impressions", using the music from Chopin, Cavalleria Rusticana and many others. A blonde girl with silver gray tights and a dark boy with black tights did this piece. They showed us some nice figures and sometimes nice movements, but could not connect them smoothly. It was quite interesting for me to see how the Albanians think about modern ballet. After this "modern" piece, it was Don Quixote pdd. The female dancer has the most steady pointe technique in the company and danced the piece in a quite matured way, but I couldn't enjoy her dancing at all, because the upper part of her body was like a stone. The boy showed us some nice turning though.
Then, there was a curtain call by all dancers. I thought there would be an intermission, but two Chinese girls brought flowers to stage, and finally I realized it was the end of the performance.
I can not give you the names of the dancers because I don't know how to spell them. What I could get from the program pamphlet was the Chinese translation (pronunciation) of their names only. The most strange thing was: there were 11 dancers in the list but we could see only 8 (3 boys and 5 girls) on the stage. According to the program, they should do "La Corsaire pdd", "Arrethyesl" (a piece danced by three dancers) and Giselle pdd. But what they actually did was quite different from the program.
Generally speaking, I think ballet education in Albania is far behind some Asian countries.
Almost all dancers (except the girl with Sleeping Beauty) lacked the real quality and technique basically needed for a ballet dancer. (I guess they were selected ones though).
Any way, Albania is a country with very small population and more wars. I think it's unfair to expect a great show from them.
Tomorrow will be the National Ballet of Korea. I am curious enough to try this one as well.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Albanian Ballet in Beijing. Kevin Ng 22-05-00 1
     Re: Xinxin 23-05-00 2

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Kevin Ng

22-05-00, 04:31 AM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Albanian Ballet in Beijing."
In response to message #0
   LAST EDITED ON 26-May-00 AT 04:33 PM (GMT)

Xinxin, is this an annual ballet/dance festival in Beijing? I remember that the Royal Ballet also toured Beijing at this time last year.

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23-05-00, 06:39 AM (GMT)
Click to EMail Xinxin Click to send private message to Xinxin Click to add this user to your buddy list  
2. "Re:"
In response to message #1
   LAST EDITED ON 23-May-00 AT 06:55 AM (GMT)

I am not very sure, because there are so many festivals and events in Beijing in recant years. But I heard the Ministry of Culture hosted this one. It's not only ballet. There are singers and bands and orchestras and folk dance troupes from around world, (more than 20 countires such as, Mongolia, Egypt,Turkey, Rumania, Russia, Israel, Japan as well as many small countries perhaps you've never heard about).

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