“The Butterfly Lovers” is a fine introduction to the gifts this world-class troupe has to offer.”
San Francisco Classical Voice
“Shanghai Ballet’s The Butterfly Lovers, a four-act ballet choreographed by Xin Lili, the artistic director of the company, mingles western classicism with exquisite Chinese décor and remarkable pageantry; the costumes and scenery that filled Zellerbach’s stage Friday night are to die for. There are tons of tutus, opulent with color, shine, and sparkle; butterfly designs are picked out in rhinestone tracery and echoed on a pink backdrop. There are handsome kimonos and flowing silks. And these dancers, roughly 35 men and women, are great to look at — long-legged, slender, handsome, and beautiful.”
Charleston City Paper
“…an elegant mixture of Asian delicacy and Western style…Located in Shanghai, the troupe, established in 1979, has been the recipient of a total of 32 medals in various dance categories from around the world. However, this record should come as no surprise to those who saw the world-class company’s overwhelmingly gorgeous performance of The Butterfly Lovers, a full-length ballet combining rare beauty and technical perfection.”
“The performance by the 33-year-old company was as much a display of perfect craftsmanship as any Chinese art form. The vibrant and intricate costumes, the impressive set designs, and of course the elegant dancing were the elements of a jewel of an evening. […] Few companies of this size demonstrate such immaculate unison of dancing among a full stage of performers who each shine in their details.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“As one might expect from the Shanghai Ballet, the three lead dancers exuded stage presence. But that might also be said of the entire company, which made each step look at once spontaneous and evitable… “The Butterfly Lovers” blended inspired artistry and sheer craft in a manner that’s seldom seen in these times of lowest-common-denominator entertainment. The ballet was also a splendid example of what the art form is known for: images that linger.”
“…a Giselle that was technically exquisite and emotionally moving.”
“…the young dancer Bingxue Qi magnified all eyes with her masterly rendition of Giselle. The range of psychological nuances of the character opens and closes in front of our eyes […] A handsome arm of beauty, a keen sense of pure line, the first dancer of the Shanghai Ballet is promised a beautiful career in just 20 years.”
Ottawa Dance Blog
“On Thursday night, Qi Bingxue presented a featherweight Giselle […] I don’t believe I ever heard her toe shoes touch the stage. Such an airy presence was she, delightful as the happy-go-lucky peasant girl in love, somewhat creepy as she came all undone with insanity at the end of the first act, and lovely and ethereal as a “Wili,” a doomed ghostly victim of an unfaithful lover.”
Organized in 1979, the Shanghai Ballet is one of the world’s predominant ballet companies, bringing the unique glamour of Chinese dance to the international stage. The White-Haired Girl, an award-winning classical Chinese ballet created in the 20th century, brought instant fame to the Company and helped establish its leading position in the ballet world. The Company has performed The White-Haired Girl in over 1,700 performances and was first introduced to North American audiences during its coast-to-coast tour in the fall of 2002. The current Artistic Director and Executive Director of the Shanghai Ballet is Xin Lili, the renowned Chinese ballerina.
During its 39-year history, the Shanghai Ballet has created and staged many new ballet productions, including The Butterfly Lovers (Xin Lili), Jane Eyre (Patrick de Bana), Marco Polo – The Last Mission (José Martinez), and A Sigh of Love (Bertrand d’At). The Company’s classical repertoire includes Swan Lake (Derek Deane), Coppelia (Pierre Lacotte), La Sylphide (Jean-Paul Gravier), The Nutcracker (Tetsutaro Shimizu), Romeo and Juliet (Derek Deane), and Serenade (George Balanchine), along with such modern pieces as The Imagination of Red, Fébrile, Now, Here, and Conversation with Chopin. Additionally, the Shanghai Ballet has performed many pas de deux from classical ballets, including La Fille Mal Gardée, Giselle, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, The Sleeping Beauty, La Esmeralda, and Raymonda. Recent projects include Echoes of Eternity (Patrick de Bana), Hamlet (Derek Deane), and The Sleeping Beauty (Derek Deane).
Since its founding, the young dancers of the Company have won a total of 32 medals in various international dance competitions, and they have also achieved impressive results in nationwide competitions. The team of current principal dancers, including Fan Xiaofeng, Sun Shenyi, Ji Pingping, Chen Zhenrong, Yu Xiaowei, and Chen Yan, is growing into a brilliant and artistically mature unit, with rising dancers such as Wu Husheng, Wang Ya’nan, Duan Wenfei, and Zhang Yao becoming stars of the next generation.
The Shanghai Ballet is active in cooperation and artistic exchange with artists and companies both at home and abroad. The Company has toured not only in China but also throughout the world, including performances in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Spain, Norway, Finland, Poland, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. In 2013, the company performed Jane Eyre at the London Coliseum, going on to perform Butterfly Lovers and La Sylphide in the United States and Canada. In March 2014, the Company performed The White-Haired Girl and The Sigh of Love at Paris’ Palais des Sports. The next year, the Company presented the world premiere of the world’s largest Swan Lake (Derek Deane) in Shanghai with much success. Shanghai Ballet would go on to tour this dazzling Swan Lake in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Breda, Groningen, Heerlen, Apeldoorn, and Enschede, in addition to Australia and a 40-performance tour of Europe. In 2016, Shanghai Ballet visited Montreal and Ottawa, bringing to Canada its Giselle and Butterfly Lovers, and in 2017, Jane Eyre was successfully presented in Poland. The Company continues to tour widely in 2018, visiting Russia with Marco Polo – The Last Mission and Europe with Derek Deane’s Swan Lake, among other performances.