NATIONAL BALLET OF CHINA The country’s official ballet company, the National Ballet of China (NBC) was founded on December 31, 1959. Originally known as the Experimental Ballet Company of the Beijing Dance School, it is currently directed by Feng Ying, a former principal dancer and ballet mistress with the company. During its formative years from 1954 to 1963, dancer—ballet master Pyotr Gusev and other Russian artists incorporated the training typical of the Russian school into the traditional Chinese program. Together, the Russians and Chinese collaborated on the production of several classical ballets, including Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, and Giselle. Over the years, other classics were staged, along with several works that used classical ballet to depict the lives of the Chinese people, thus increasing their appeal to local audiences. Prominent examples include The Red Detachment of Women, Yellow River, Butterfly Lovers, The Peony Pavilion and the Chinese version of The Nutcracker. With some seventy dancers and a sixty-member symphony orchestra, NBC is based at the Tianqiao Theatre in Beijing, which was built specifically for the company in 1958 and renovated in 2001. To promote cultural exchanges and further the development of Chinese ballet, the troupe has toured extensively in over 30 countries in Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
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