Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China’s Swan Lake, premiered in 2005, has been delighting YouTubers for years, and more recently the company started touring its version even to important ballet centres. The performance’s fusion of dance and stunts has given the company global recognition.
The concept of infusing acrobatics into the performance of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece was born when two troupe members — Wei Baohua and his wife, Wu Zhengdan — created “Oriental Swan Ballet” when she balances in pointe in her husband’s head.
Ballet came to China 45 years ago and is viewed as a high-class art form. Acrobatics are a Chinese tradition, dating back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), struggling to survive market competition. It seemed a risky venture to intermingle the two art forms, but doing so zapped new life into both, says Zhao Ming, the production’s choreographer and director.… [continue reading]