Saratoga Springs, N.Y. - The National Ballet of China, a beloved national symbol in its homeland and an iconic cultural emissary to the global community, will perform at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) July 21 and 22, announced President and Executive Director Marcia J. White. Accompanied by The National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra, the company's SPAC engagement will feature the Saratoga premiere of The Peony Pavilion, the internationally-acclaimed adaptation of a classic Chinese romantic tale.
"Perhaps best known to American audiences as the dance company which performed for President Nixon on his historic visit to China in 1972, The National Ballet of China has achieved a well-earned reputation as a truly world-class dance company. The company is distinguished by its spectacular performances of imaginative new ballets and phenomenal interpretations of traditional masterworks from the classical repertoire. Its unique style, imbuing characteristics of its Russian training and techniques picked up from Western counterparts with a distinctly Chinese flair, presents an unforgettable spectacle to its audiences," said Ms. White. "The National Ballet of China's engagement at SPAC this year is a landmark occasion for SPAC and the Capital Region community to enjoy."
Founded in December 1959, The National Ballet of China fuses classical and modern styles to present works bearing its distinct national characteristics. Schooled in the Russian tradition, the company is known worldwide for its adaptations of Western classics including Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Giselle, as well as original ballets including The Red Detachment of Women, Raise the Red Lantern, and The Peony Pavilion. As a dance company renowned for the quality of its performances on the international stage, The National Ballet of China serves as a cultural envoy from the Chinese people to the world.
"We are thrilled and honored to welcome this Chinese national treasure to join our legacy of exceptional dance performances. Adapted from a 400-year-old popular Chinese opera, The Peony Pavilion combines the best of Eastern and Western dance influences with a European-inflected score to create a thoroughly entertaining and original showcase of this company's extraordinary talents," said Hon. Susan Read, Chairman of SPAC.
Set against a diverse score incorporating influences of Debussy, Ravel, Holst, and Prokofiev, The Peony Pavilion features a classic Chinese story of young romance and the obstacles its protagonists face in achieving happiness through love, in a tale reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. A young woman is consumed by grief as she dreams of a man she knows she will never find, but the strength of her passion struggles to unite them by overcoming the power of death. Featuring incredible dancers, beautiful costumes, and stunning sets, The Peony Pavilion has delighted audiences around the world with its emotive imagery and exquisite production.
"Sparked by the massive audience response to last year's Bolshoi Ballet engagement, which dazzled audiences with its breathtaking athleticism and technique, in 2015 SPAC continues to bring innovative international programming to our stage through this engagement with The National Ballet of China. We are especially pleased with the variety of dance programming we will offer our audiences this summer, with the celebrated National Ballet of China and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company joining our heralded resident company New York City Ballet during a spectacular summer of music and dance here in Saratoga," added Ms. White.
Performances of The National Ballet of China at SPAC will be Tuesday, July 21, at 8 p.m.; a matinee on Wednesday, July 22, at 2 p.m.; and Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets will be available at spac.org, with a SPAC member presale beginning March 3 and the general public onsale beginning March 24. For group sales information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518-584-9330 extension 134. The SPAC box office will open for the season for in-person and phone sales on Friday, May 15 at 12 p.m.