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Chinese ballet: long history, but still developing(2)

2011-08-10 16:53     Web Editor: Zhang Chan
Chinese ballet dancers are performing in Shanghai.

Chinese ballet dancers are performing in Shanghai.

Overseas attraction

Troupes of ballet dancers and enthusiasm from audiences have increased, but the attraction to go abroad for many dancers also grows. For a long period of time, China has been cultivating its own ballet dancers. Now that the country is more open to the outside world, many Chinese ballet dancers, in order to progress, have gone to Western countries.

Compared with the previous days, ballet dancers trained in China now have a good development environment. More and more young ballet dancers have received praise from the Western world for their skills and techniques, explained one ballet teacher.

Chinese ballet dancers, through participation in international ballet tournaments, have been discovered by foreign ballet troupes and have signed contracts with them. "It is not that China cannot train good ballet dancers, but they cannot keep them in domestic troupes," said a senior official in a Shanghai ballet troupe.

"Foreign troupes have been developing for a longer time and are mostly more mature than Chinese troupes, while foreign audiences present a better understanding of this dance form. This makes ballet dancers feel more valuable in foreign countries," added the official.

"How to keep these young talents in our country and provide them a better environment will be the key issue," said the official.

Developing to survive

"Ballet does not belong to the category of mass art, and in recent years, as more new art forms develop like modern dance, ballet has been impacted," said Xiao Hua, a senior ballet dancer.

There are two basic styles of ballet, modern and classical. Many of those who can understand classical ballet are senior or middle-aged people, for they came to know ballet through the older ones that presented it to China decades ago.

"Young people, though they have an interest in this, have no patience to search for the backgrounds of these classical ballets," said Xiao. "While modern ballet, which may present vague ideas or be too complicated for normal people to understand, is also in an awkward situation in China."

Publicity of ballet in China still remains small. With no further advertisement, ballet cannot have a better development in the country, said another ballet teacher. "We need governmental help that can provide us with financial aid and publicity," added the teacher.

In recent years, ballet troupes have also been trying to change the situation. They have created new works, bringing them to schools and foreign audiences to show more people Chinese ballet.