LIFE / CULTURE
Chief choreographer of National Ballet of China celebrates 20-year career with classic program
Published: Jul 07, 2022 05:58 PM
Choreographer Fei Bo. A ballet show presenting ten works choreographed by Fei Bo from National Ballet of China, is being performed at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on July 5 and 6.Photo: Courtesy of National Ballet of China

Choreographer Fei Bo. A ballet show presenting ten works choreographed by Fei Bo from National Ballet of China, is being performed at the Beijing Tianqiao Theater on July 5 and 6. Photo: Courtesy of National Ballet of China


A ballet dance <em>Confucius 2012</em>,combining Chinese traditional elements and modern dance and choreographed by Fei Bo from National Ballet of China, is being performed at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on July 5 and 6.

A ballet dance Confucius 2012,combining Chinese traditional elements and modern dance and choreographed by Fei Bo from National Ballet of China, is being performed at the Beijing Tianqiao Theater on July 5 and 6. Photo: Courtesy of National Ballet of China


A medium-long adaptation of Shakespeare's <em>Hamlet</em>, choreographed by Fei Bo from National Ballet of China, is being performed at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on July 5 and 6.

A medium-long adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, choreographed by Fei Bo from National Ballet of China, is being performed at the Beijing Tianqiao Theater on July 5 and 6. Photo: Courtesy of National Ballet of China


Among dozens of vividly dressed performers in white frilly dresses and outfits, a shining dynamic crystal lamp on the ceiling above them integrates perfectly to help push along a tragic story and maintain a balanced harmony on stage. Senior ballet choreographer Fei Bo, now the chief choreographer at the National Ballet of China (NBC), has again presented one of his most remarkable works to an audience: a medium-long adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

This show at the Beijing Tianqiao Theater was part of a special performance by NBC to commemorate Fei's 20-year career with the troupe. Excerpts from a total of 10 works choreographed by Fei were performed onTuesday and Wednesday. 

The heavy downpour across the city was unable to cool the warm applause from audiences inside the venue. For the Hamlet performance, this well-known tragedy unfolded at a rapid pace over the following hour, ending with a five-minute-long ovation from the seats. First showcased in 2014, the work is Fei's salute to classical ballet and reveals his understanding toward this 1601 English tragedy. Through exquisite ballet language, Fei expresses Hamlet's anguish and struggle.

The second half of the show focused on classic works rooted in traditional Chinese culture such as The Light of Heart, Confucius 2012 and The Peony Pavilion, the last one an adaptation of the romantic tragicomedy play written by dramatist Tang Xianzu during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Fei's ability to draw upon Chinese painting, literature, and opera for inspiration helped pave the way for his exploration of the Chinese localization of ballet.

For example, the ballet The Light of Heart follows researchers' life-long efforts to protect and study the ancient artworks discovered in the famous Mogao Grottoes near Dunhuang, Northwest China's Gansu Province. The performance, featuring the cyan and red colors of the frescoes at the Mogao Grottoes matched with the earthen colors of the northwest desert, depicts young cultural workers overcoming countless difficulties to protect China's cultural heritage.

The performance not only pays tribute to workers dedicated to cultural relic protection, but also recreates the splendid Dunhuang frescoes on stage so that audiences may enjoy a breathtaking combination of ancient art visuals and modern ballet.

The commemorative stage program also saw an array of NBC prima dancers such as Zhu Yan, Zhang Jian, and Wang Qimin return to the stage.

"I'm so grateful and excited to stand here and be able to present my 20 years at NBC with such a celebration. I could not have achieved what I have without the support of these excellent actors and technical teams from NBC, as well as the senior artists who laid the foundation for the generations to come," Fei said in a post-performance interview.

"I learned a lot about choreography from my predecessors and have successfully showcased my works as a member of the NBC. I regard this show as an opportunity to review my problems and deeds as a ballet choreographer," added Fei.

This talented ballet dancer who has created countless works during his career was recently named NBC's first chief choreographer in history.