Prestigious international ballet company comes to St. Louis for the first time to perform the Chinese version of "Romeo and Juliet"
St. Louis (September 16, 2013) - Shanghai Ballet, one of the world's premier international ballet companies and one of five ballet companies in China, comes to St. Louis for the first time to perform The Butterfly Lovers on November 8 and 9 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The elegant, folk-infused ballet, where Western ballet meets Chinese dancing, follows the fairytale story of the blossoming yet ill-fated romance of a young couple. It is often considered the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet. The four-act production showcases stunning and ornate costumes; elaborate set designs reflecting the changing seasons; and breathtaking choreography that highlights Shanghai Ballet's striking classical technique.
WHO: Dance St. Louis
WHAT: Shanghai Ballet in The Butterfly Lovers
WHEN: Friday, November 8 at 8 p.m. & Saturday, November 9 at 2 & 8 p.m.
WHERE: Touhill Performing Arts Center
TICKETS: $35-55 for evening performances; $35 for matinee performance
The Butterfly Lovers tells the story of a young woman named Zhu, who disguises herself as a man to obtain admittance to school. She falls in love with schoolmate Liang, but her betrothal to the evil and violent Ma complicates her feelings for Liang. In a jealous rage, Ma kills Liang when he attempts to intervene and profess his love for Zhu. (Spoiler alert: Distraught, Zhu sacrifices her own life in order to spend eternity with Liang, and the two are reunited in the afterlife as a pair of colorful butterflies.)
Choreographed by Shanghai Ballet Artistic Director Xin Lili, The Butterfly Lovers premiered in December 2001 at the Shanghai International Arts Festival. Balletco (
http://Ballet.co.uk) calls The Butterfly Lovers, "a Chinese fairytale ?just breathtaking." Critics say Shanghai Ballet "is as elegant as the delicate porcelain imported from China."
Organized in 1979, the Shanghai Ballet Company became famous in the international ballet world with the performance of The White-Haired Girl, a classical 20th century Chinese ballet that won the gold medal of the "Best Classical Dance Works of the 20th Century" in China. Since then, the company has done more than 1,700 performances of The White-Haired Girl. It was introduced to North American audiences during its coast-to-coast tour in 2002.
Over the past 34 years, many of the company's dancers have won a total of 32 medals in various international dance competitions and received impressive results in nationwide competitions.
The company has established itself as a prestigious international company by creating and staging new folk-styled ballet productions of The Butterfly Lovers (Xin Lili) and A Sigh of Love (Bertrand d'At). The company's repertoire also includes classical ballet pieces, such as Swan Lake (Derek Deane), The Nutcracker (Tetsutaro Shimizu), Romeo and Juliet (Derek Deane) and Serenade (George Balanchine) along with such modern pieces as The Imagination of Red, Febrile, Now, Here and Conversation with Chopin. The Shanghai Ballet has performed many pas de deux from classical ballets, including Giselle, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, The Sleeping Beauty and many more.
The Shanghai Ballet has toured throughout China as well as multiple cities in the United States, Canada, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
FREE PRE-SHOW PROGRAM
Dance St. Louis Artistic & Executive Director Michael Uthoff will host a free program, the Marjorie Orgel Speaking of Dance Series in the Touhill's Terrace Lobby at 7:15 p.m. prior to the 8 p.m. performances and at 1:15 p.m. prior to the Saturday 2 p.m. performance.
Tickets range from $35 - $55, and are available at the Dance St. Louis box office at 3547 Olive St. in the Centene Center for Arts and Education in Grand Center, by calling 314-534-6622, or by visiting
EVENT MEDIA SPONSORS
The St. Louis Chinese American News is the media sponsor of the Shanghai Ballet.
Ameren is Dance St. Louis' 2013-2014 season presenting sponsor. Season sustaining sponsors include the Arts and Education Council, Missouri Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts / Art Works, and Regional Arts Commission. The Cheshire Saint Louis, Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark and St. Louis Union Station Hotel are the official hotels.