Svetlana Zakharova is to dance two modern pieces in the Gala Baiser Volé which closes the season at Shanghai's Grand Theatre on 9 August. It will be the first time that the Russian ballerina dances in China.
Revelation is a work that she has performed many times in such events over the last eight years since Japanese choreographer Motoko Hirayama created it for her. It is a duet for ‘Zakharova and Chair' using John Williams' film score music composed for Schindler's List.
The second is a new creation called Digital Love by Patrick de Bana, who is also the artistic director for the gala.
For me this gala is like a meeting of friends, where the main public is also invited to take part in the gathering,
he told the Shanghai Daily.
Digital Love is a duet, and de Bana himself will be on stage with Zakharova.
In general, the duet is about distance… distant love. It's about love that is transmitted through our electronic world, trying to send emotions, feelings and connections from one side of the world to the other.
De Bana is delighted to be working with Zakharova on the piece which will be the last on the programme.
Being with Svetlana Zakharova in the studio gives you the impression that you have walked into the Forbidden City and the last empress of China invites you to dance. That is how it feels.
Digital Love won't be the only première of the evening; de Bana is also choreographing a work for ex-Paris Opera Ballet stars Isabelle Guérin and Manuel Legris: The Farewell Waltz. As Guérin is 53 and Legris 50, it should be a touching and poignant waltz indeed.
It's a very new thing, maybe, for the Chinese public to have such mature dancers on stage. I did it on purpose, because the Chinese have a vision of when you have to stop dancing, and they stop far too young in Shanghai.
Many would argue that Zakharova came back even better after having her child in 2011, whereas Chinese dancers usually stop after having a baby.
In Europe, in the whole rest of the world it's like, why shall I stop if I have a baby? It's better I come back as a woman, as a mother.
Other dancers in the Gala include Stuttgart Ballet's Friedemann Vogel and Maria Eichwald, Dutch National Ballet's Anna Tsygankova and Matthew Golding (who recently left to join the Royal Ballet), Ketevan Papava who dances with the Vienna State Ballet, and two dancers from the Shanghai company: Fan Xiaofeng and Wu Husheng.
De Bana said,
It's like two generations meeting on stage. When young artists meet respected older artists, it's a stimulating exchange, so I think it's going to be a very interesting night for the audience.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.