The Hong Kong Ballet presents: A Ballet Soirée

The Hong Kong Ballet presents: A Ballet Soirée

6 acclaimed works from international choreographers, 1 Asian Première & 1 World Première

ballet dancers

Symphonic Dances Tan Yuan Yuan & Vito Mazzeo Photograph : Erik Tomasson

starring Guest Principal Dancer Tan Yuan Yuan and Vito Mazzeo from San Francisco Ballet

ballet soireeThe Hong Kong Ballet’s mixed bill, A Ballet Soirée, brings you a once-in-a-lifetime ballet experience Artistic Director Madeleine Onne has curated this salon of international ballet to showcase 6 ballet pieces by choreographers from around the world, including the father of modern ballet George Balanchine, one of today’s foremost choreographers Spanish-born Nacho Duato, acclaimed German choreographer Christian Spuck, famous American choreographer Val Caniparoli, Taiwanese-American creator Edwaard Liang and emerging Chinese talent, Li Jun.

Prima ballerina Tan Yuan Yuan and her Italian partner Vito Mazzeo from San Francisco Ballet will join stars Jin Yao, Wu Fei-fei, Wu Yan, Zhang Yao and the rest of The Hong Kong Ballet’s cosmopolitan dancers to create a truly international experience.

A Ballet Soirée will be staged at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s Grand Theatre from 2-4 November 2012. Box office opens 3 September, 2012.

Programme lineup:


Choreography: Nacho Duato Music: Antonio Vivaldi and Karl Jenkins Set Design: Nacho Duato Costume Design: Francis Montesinos Lighting Design: Brad Fields Staging: Thomas Klein Organization and Production: Carlos Iturrioz-Mediart Producciones SL (Spain) © …. NACHO DUATO, all rights reserved.

Set to Vivaldi’s richly structured baroque music, Nacho Duato’s Castrati is a deeply affecting, powerful piece for nine men. The perfectly constructed ballet explores the meaning of masculinity and the significance of sacrifice in a world that demands perfection. Danced for the first time by an Asian company, this performance of Castrati will be an elegant showcase for The Hong Kong Ballet’s talented male dancers.

About Nacho Duato Nacho Duato is a world-famous Spanish choreographer who began his career as a dancer and started to choreograph while at the Nederlands Dans Theater. His works feature in the repertoires of many leading ballet companies, including the Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Paris Opera, The Australian Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, The Royal Swedish Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. His creations are known for combining balletic lines with a more contemporary sense of gravity. After 20 years as the Artistic Director of Compañía Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Nacho Duato has been Artistic Director of the Mikhailowsky Ballet in St Petersburg since January 2011.

Pas de Deux from Symphonic Dances *Asian Première

Choreography: Edwaard Liang Music: Sergei Rachmaninov

Performed by Tan Yuan Yuan, Guest Principal Dancer of The Hong Kong Ballet and Principal Dancer of San Francisco Ballet, and Vito Mazzeo, Principal Dancer of San Francisco Ballet

Edwaard Liang’s Symphonic Dances, which debuted in 2012, is set to the music of the same name by Sergei Rachmaninov. The piece, “has a youthful primitive energy,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Sean Martinfield on had this to say: “Edwaard Liang’s Symphonic Dances is an explosive revelation, an instant classic.”

About Edwaard Liang Edwaard Liang was born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Marin County, California. Liang trained at the School of American Ballet before joining New York City Ballet in the spring of 1993; that same year he was a medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition and the Mae L. Wien Award. Liang started his choreographic career with the Nederlands Dans Theater 1 workshop, his works have been performed by numerous ballet companies like Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Hamburg Ballet etc. He was named one of the “TOP 25 to Watch” for choreography by Dance Magazine in 2006. Liang won the National Choreographic Competition in 2006, and was invited to take part in the 2007 National Choreographers Initiative. Liang was also one of the winners of the Prince Prize Grant for Choreography and the Choo San Goh Award for Choreography. Described by Dance Magazine as “a master dream-weaver”, Liang combines elegant movements with a more contemporary dance vocabulary.

Act 1 Pas de Deux from Lady of the Camellias

Choreography: Val Caniparoli Music: Frédéric Chopin

World Premiere: Ballet Florida, February 25, 1994, The Raymond Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida

Performed by Tan Yuan Yuan, Guest Principal Dancer of The Hong Kong Ballet and Principal Dancer of San Francisco Ballet, and Vito Mazzeo, Principal Dancer of San Francisco Ballet

Based on a famous French novel by Alexandre Dumas, Val Caniparoli’s ballet tells the bittersweet tale of a true love between courtesan Marguerite Gautier and a provincial bourgeois, Armand Duval. In this scene from Act 1 of the full-length ballet, Marguerite has spurned the advances of her escort preferring instead the sincere embraces of the smitten Armand, her true lover.

Lady of the Camellias combines clean, precise choreography with a touching vision of the naivety of young love. Accompanied by Chopin’s joyous early work, the pas de deux from this ballet emphasizes the importance of romantic chemistry between a ballerina and her partner.

About Val Caniparoli Val’s versatility has made him one of the most sought-after choreographers in the United States and abroad. Although he is most closely associated with San Francisco Ballet, his artistic home for more than 40 years, Val has contributed to the repertories of more than 40 companies, including Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Atlanta Ballet to name a few. He has also choreographed for the Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Metropolitan Opera as well as the San Francisco Symphony and American Conservatory Theatre. He has received ten grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, an artist fellowship from the California Art Council, and two awards from the Choo-San Goh and H Robert Magee Foundation

About Tan Yuan Yuan Tan Yuan Yuan is regarded as the greatest Chinese ballerina of all time. Born in Shanghai, Tan trained at Shanghai Dancing School and Stuttgart’s John Cranko School before joining San Francisco Ballet as a Soloist in 1995; just two years later, at the age of 20 she was made the Company’s first ever Principal Dancer. Tan Yuan Yuan’s fluid elegance has inspired well-known choreographers to create ballets for her, including Helgi Tómasson, Yuri Possokhov, Christopher Wheeldon and Stanton Welch. Her outstanding talent and dedication have been recognised by many awards, including the Gold Medal and the Nijinsky Award at the 1st Japan International Ballet and Modern Dance Competition (1993), a gold medal in the 5th International Ballet Competition in Paris (1992) and an invitation to The White House in 1999. Named one of Asia’s Heroes by Time Magazine in 2004, Tan Yuan Yuan joined The Hong Kong Ballet as Guest Principal Dancer in 2008.

About Vito Mazzeo Vito Mazzeo was born in Italy and received his early training at La Scala Ballet School. From 2005-2008, Mazzeo performed with The Royal Ballet, and in 2008 he joined Teatro dell’Opera. In 2010 he joined San Francisco Ballet as a Soloist and after six months he was promoted to Principal Dancer. He has performed lead roles in variety of classical works, including Prince Desiré in The Sleeping Beauty, Albrecht and Hilarion in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Basilio in Don Quixote, Birbanto in Le Corsaire, the Golden Slave in Sheherazade, and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. In 2010, Mazzeo received the Premio Positano Leonide Massine Award for Best Italian Dancer, as well as the Danza & Danza Award for Best Dancer of the Year.

Dancing with the Wind *A Newly Commissioned Work / World Première

Choreography: Li Jun, Principal Dancer of the National Ballet of China Music: Ah Yan Set Design: Leocampo Yuen Costume Design: Kun Li Lighting Design: Mak Kwok Fai Special Thanks: Crystal Music Ensemble and Gu Zheng Artist Yao Yao Wang

Over the last year, Li Jun has visited Hong Kong on many occasions to create a brand new ballet on the dancers of The Hong Kong Ballet. Dancing with the Wind is the second piece that he has choreographed; this plot-less ballet expresses the creator’s thoughts and feelings through movement. The classical Western art form of ballet is spiced with music, costumes and an aesthetic that are unmistakably Chinese. Occidental and oriental influences swirl together to form a free-flowing experimental piece.

About Li Jun Li Jun is currently a Principal Dancer at the National Ballet of China. He has received recognition as a China National Grade 1 Actor, as well as numerous awards including the Silver Medal at the 7th USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi in 2002. Li Jun has been invited to perform at galas in France, Italy, Japan, Greece and Germany.

Le Grand Pas de Deux

Choreography: Christian Spuck Music: La Gazza Ladra by Gioachino Rossini Costume Design: Nicole Krahl Lighting Design: Billy Chan World Premiered on 31 December 1999 Stuttgart Ballet

This caricature of a classical pas de deux, created by world-renowned choreographer Christian Spuck, incorporates steps from many famous ballets such as Giselle, Swan Lake and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Not only does it demand technical excellence, it also requires both dancers to act convincingly, and to master impeccable comic timing.

About Christian Spuck Christian Spuck received his ballet education at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart where he graduated in 1993. He joined the Stuttgart Ballet in 1995, and in 2001 Spuck was made Choreographer in Residence. Since then he has created 15 world premières for the Stuttgart Ballet, including two full-length ballets. His work has seen success both in his native Germany and internationally; in particular two of his pieces, Le Grand Pas de Deux and Don Quixote, are frequently selected to feature in dance galas and festivals around the world. Christian Spuck took up the post of Artistic Director at the Ballett Zürich in Switzerland at the beginning of the 2012-13 dance season.

Theme and Variations

Choreography: George Balanchine Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Répétiteur: Ben Huys Set & Costume Design: Bill Haycock Lighting Design: Billy Chan

An intensive development of the classic ballet lexicon, Theme and Variations presents a new and exhilarating challenge for all the dancers. Balanchine wrote that the piece was intended “to evoke that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of Tchaikovsky’s music.” The ballet moves from variation to variation, interspersing solos among group performances.

About George Balanchine George Balanchine is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. His style has been described as neo-classic, de-emphasizing plot in ballets and preferring to let “dance be the star of the show”. In his lifetime, Balanchine created 465 works, including such renowned pieces as Allegro Brillante, Theme and Variations, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Serenade.

Tickets are available at all URBTIX outlets and via URBTIX website, from 3 September 2012. Suitable for ages 6 and above. Programme Plus! activities include A Preview of A Ballet Soirée on 16 October that is open to public; a Pre-performance Talk on 2 November and an Autograph Session with The Hong Kong Ballet’s dancers on 3 November.

A Ballet Soirée 2-3.11.2012 7:30pm 3-4.11.2012 2:30pm

Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre $1000(VIP), $550, $350, $250, $100


A Preview of A Ballet Soirée

Artistic Director Madeleine Onne will give an introduction to each piece in this salon of international ballet. There will also be a short preview performed by The Hong Kong Ballet’s dancers.

Conducted in English. Free admission. Limited audience capacity, advanced registration required.

Date: 16. 10. 2012 (Tuesday) Time: 7:30PM-8:45PM Venue: GR3, 8/F, Grand Theatre Backstage, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

Registration & Enquiries 2105 9724 / [email protected]

Pre-performance Talk

Date: 2. 11. 2012 (Friday) Time: 6:50PM Venue: Level 2 Foyer, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

The programme is about 20 minutes long. Free admission with A Ballet Soirée tickets. Conducted in English with Cantonese translation.

Autograph Session

Date: 3. 11. 2012 (Saturday) Time: After Matinée Performance Venue: Level 2 Foyer, Hong Kong Cultural Centre

For A Ballet Soirée ticket-holders only. Limited places available on a first-come, first serve basis.

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About The Hong Kong Ballet

One of the premier classical ballet companies in Asia, The Hong Kong Ballet is becoming internationally recognised as a world-class institution with an identity that fully reflects the unique vitality of Hong Kong. The Company turns 33 in 2012, and over time has evolved into a vibrant performing arts organisation with accomplished dancers, a strong repertoire, and sparkling, technically challenging productions.

The Company’s artistic team is led by Artistic Director Madeleine Onne, with over 40 dancers originating from all over the world. The Company performs a repertoire that combines classical masterpieces and acclaimed contemporary works from the 19th to 21st centuries, as well as new commissions. Since 1997, The Hong Kong Ballet has raised its international profile by conducting over 20 tours; in the summer of 2012, The Hong Kong Ballet toured the United States and Canada, performing at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and in Aspen, Montreal and Santa Fe. An integral part of the Company’s activities is an extensive education and community outreach programme, which brings the art of ballet to students as well as to the wider community of Hong Kong.

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