Central Ballet Company performs in Hong Kong
"March forward, march forward!... Just as Hua Mulan fought in the army for her father in ancient times, today we have the Red Detachment of Women, shouldering guns for the people..." On Jan 10, the Central Ballet Company performed their flagship ballet production, "Red Detachment of Women," in Hong Kong, kicking off the "Fragrance Harbor in National Style and Rhyme" cultural series of events for 2024.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first performance of the ballet "Red Detachment of Women," and after more than 10 years, this milestone work of Chinese ballet is once again presented to the Hong Kong audience.
As the red curtain rose on the stage of the Hong Kong Cultural Center's Grand Theatre, the sprawling coconut groves, stirring music, and performances with distinctive era characteristics transported the audience back to the heroic and turbulent years when impoverished women on Hainan Island bravely wielded red flags and weapons, fighting against oppression and seeking liberation.
"The 'Red Detachment of Women' is a must-learn lesson for every dancer in the Central Ballet Company," said Cao Shuci, a rehearsal director and National First-class Performer. When the familiar melody plays, a sense of national pride emerges naturally. "Being able to perform this work is our pride."
Adapted from Liang Xingtong's eponymous film literary script, the ballet "Red Detachment of Women" is the "calling card" of Chinese ballet art. After 60 years of refinement, the role of Qionghua in the ballet has been passed down through six generations of performers. In this first performance in Hong Kong, Qionghua was portrayed by Ning Long, a young member of the Central Ballet Company.
"This performance in Hong Kong not only hopes to carry forward the creative experiences of the older generation but also aims to showcase the spirit of the new generation of Chinese ballet dancers and their deep emotions towards the country and the nation," said Cao Shuci.
The ballet "Red Detachment of Women" combines ballet technique with Chinese storytelling, reaching artistic heights. With the passionate dedication of 60 artists on stage, the image of the Chinese women soldiers with their military caps and pointe shoes is vividly recreated. Through the relentless efforts of generations of performers, the ballet conveys the indomitable spirit of the women soldiers who, represented by Qionghua, always strive for self-improvement and fight tenaciously, which has always been loved by the audience.
At the end of the epic music, the audience erupted in applause. The actors took multiple bows amidst the prolonged and warm applause, and several young dancers from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts presented flowers as a tribute to the performers.
"The show tells the story of the Chinese people, conveying the spirit of the Chinese people. This production has tremendous vitality," commented a Hong Kong citizen, after leaving the audience. He said that he had seen the film of the same title several times.
After the performances, the Central Ballet Company will continue to perform the company's signature show - the Makarova version of the ballet "Swan Lake" from the Jan 13 to 14.
The event is jointly led by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Hong Kong SAR Government, and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR, with the enthusiastic support of the Bauhinia Culture Group. It is organized by Beijing China Performing Arts Agency Global Art Production Co., Ltd., aiming to support Hong Kong in building an excellent base for promoting Chinese culture and actively promoting the construction of a center for cultural and artistic exchanges between China and foreign countries.