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About the Company
The Beijing-based National Ballet of China was founded on New Year's Eve in 1959. Since 1961 it has performed in more than 140 cities on five continents, and its members have won numerous awards in international ballet competitions. The company has collaborated with many of ballet's international stars, including Pyotr Gusev, Anton Dolin, and Rudolph Nureyev. Its repertoire includes such classics as Swan Lake, Giselle, and Don Quixote.

The National Ballet of China is committed to incorporating the rich heritage of Chinese classical and folk dance into ballet, and it has been in the forefront of the nation's performing arts from its inception. In 1964, it developed and staged The Red Detachment of Women, which became a symbol of revolutionary China, and was performed all over the country during the Cultural Revolution. It was also made into a widely popular film. The Red Detachment of Women was also presented in a special performance for Richard Nixon during his ground-breaking trip to China in 1972.

Since the millennium, the National Ballet of China continued to elevate its profile on the international stage, appearing at such prestigious dance venues as Sadler's Wells and Paris Opera Ballet. One reviewer described the accomplished dancers' "grace and attack...knit together with a unison you'd almost call superhuman" (DailyTelegraph). Since its 2002 premiere, Raise the Red Lantern has become the signature piece of the National Ballet of China, praised for its "new vision of ballet spectacle that authentically merges 'Western' classical ballet approaches with a modicum of traditional Asian flavour" (Dance Insider).

The National Ballet of China's founding director, Dai Ailian, is widely acknowledged as the mother of Chinese ballet and modern dance. She was born in Trinidad-Tobago and trained in England before returning to China in the early 1940s. Currently under the directorship of Zhao Ruheng, a ballerina whose successful career in leading roles in Swan Lake and The Red Detachment of Women was stopped short because of a leg injury in the 1970s, the National Ballet of China garners tremendous acclaim wherever it performs.


Additional Resources
National Ballet of China Official Site: More about the NBC

Related Articles
"'Red Lantern' Glows as Film-to-Ballet": The Washington Post – Washington DC (Oct. 10, 2005)

"Ballet of China: Dance Evolution": Washington Post – Washington DC (Sept. 30, 2005)

"China's Ballet Without Borders": Washington Post – Washington, DC (Oct. 6, 2005)