After its success last autumn in staging a programme of three dramatic ballets of the legendary 82-year-old French choreographer Roland Petit, the National Ballet of China premiered last weekend a pure-dance ballet by Petit for a change. Pink Floyd Ballet, choreographed in 1973, is rarely performed nowadays.
Petit hardly looked his age as an octogenarian, leaping and bouncing about energetically during the curtain calls, before asking the company to dance an encore of the song “One of Those Days”. Just as Balanchine fused classical ballet and show dancing in his 1970 Gershwin masterpiece Who Cares?, Petit has managed to blend classical dancing with rock-and-roll in this work.
The 90-minute pure-dance ballet was choreographed to 18 songs by the famous British rock band (recorded in concert in Beijing) and consists of a variety of solos, duets, trios, and ensemble dances. Most of the company’s 80 dancers are utilised, and all the dancers are attired in white. Lighting design by Jean Michel Desireis striking.
The whole company looked wonderfully at home and danced Petit’s masterly choreography with relish and vibrancy. The male contingent of the company, in particular, is shown off in a greater strength than usual. The most satisfying of the male solos was the yearning solo “Nobody Home” danced by Li Jun, expressive in his long line and noble classical style. Li also shone later in a pas de deux with the graceful Wang Qimin.
Among the three duets at the heart of this ballet, the first one, “Hey You”, is the finest in terms of choreography and emotional weight. Zhu Yan, the company’s leading ballerina, was meltingly tender in her exquisite dancing, strongly partnered by Yu Bo.
It was a triumphant premiere. The National Ballet of China has acquired a winning crowd-pleaser, which enriches its large repertory of ballets by Western choreographers. And it has also revealed in its dancers a new boldness. ★★★★☆
Tel +86 10 6275 1278