Jane Eyre

The Shanghai Ballet present their fabulous interpretation of Jane Eyre at the London Coliseum from 14th August to 17th August 2013.

4-jane-eyreShanghai Ballet Company is to make its highly anticipated UK debut in August at the London Coliseum with performances of JANE EYRE, an original, innovative ballet production based on Charlotte Brontë’s famous novel. In a bold re-interpretation, choreographer Patrick de Bana’s production puts the character of Bertha Mason, Edward Rochester’s ‘mad’ wife, famously locked up in the attic for most of the novel, firmly centre stage along with her two-timing husband and the novel’s heroine, Jane Eyre.

With strong performances from the three lead characters – Ji Pingping (Jane), Wu Husheng (Rochester), Fan Xiaofeng (Bertha), gigantic, atmospheric sets and lighting, dramatic choreography and an eye-catching costume design that cleverly melds Victorian costume with the 21st century, JANE EYRE is a true break from tradition and sets Shanghai Ballet Company on a bold trajectory towards their London debut.

A classic piece of Victorian fiction, JANE EYRE is a hugely popular book in China with its tale of female empowerment, romance, tragedy and redemption; in 2009 it was performed at the National Grand Theatre in Shanghai as a play; scriptwriter Yu Rongjun had wanted to develop Bertha’s character but the idea was considered too unconventional. Step in Shanghai Ballet Director Xan Lili: “After seeing the play I had an idea that JANE EYRE could work very well as a modern ballet; elegant and graceful. The conversations were just so suitable for pas de deux. I thought it would be wonderful if we could present it as an innovative ballet with universal appeal and one that would simultaneously strengthen Shanghai Ballet’s modern repertoire.”

Xan Lili discussed the idea with Shanghai Grand Theater and with Yu Rongjun, and gradually gathered together the creative team – including celebrated choreographer Patrick de Bana, writer Yu Rongjun, and set/costume designer Jérôme Kaplan – to discuss the plot, design and casting before getting the production underway.

Patrick de Bana views Rochester less as a hero and more as a villain; a man who ignores his poor mad wife so he can attempt to marry Jane. “The only victim in this story is Bertha,” he says. “All she wants is love. We don’t know under what circumstances she became mad, but since then she has been locked up like an animal in a cage; that’s why I wanted to give her some credit and make her important. Bertha Mason is definitely my heroine.”

Principal Cast and Creatives

JI Pingping – Jane Eyre Ji studied at Shanghai Dance School and has danced main roles with Shanghai Ballet Company in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, The Last Mission of Marco Polo, La Valse and many more. She won the Gold Medal at the 9th Paris International Dance Competition (Classical) and performed in Seoul at the first Asia Ballet Festival in 2006

WU Husheng – Edward Rochester Wu joined Shanghai Ballet after graduating from the Shanghai Dance School in 2003; he has danced in Swan Lake, La Sylphide, Coppelia, Romeo & Juliet, Giselle, The White-haired Girl, The Butterfly Lovers, and modern pieces Conversation with Chopin, Web5, The Song of the Mother and more. His many awards include silver at the 9th New York International Ballet Competition, gold at the 4th Shanghai International Ballet Competition, and Shanghai Dance Association’s Outstanding Young Dancer award in 2011.

FAN Xiaofeng – Bertha Mason FAN graduated from Shanghai Dance School and joined Shanghai Ballet; her main roles include Swan Lake, Coppelia, Giselle, La Sylphide, Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote, Grand pas Classique, and modern pieces such as Red Fan, The Horizon and more. She has also performed with Australia National Ballet as guest principal. Awards include silver at the 1st Shanghai International Ballet Competition in 1995; gold at the 19th Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria in 2000, and the 2012 Shanghai Literature and Arts Award.

Patrick de Bana – choreographer Patrick is a graduate of Hamburg Ballet School; he has performed with Bejart Ballet, Compania Nacional de Danza of Spain and formed his own company, Nafas Dance in 2003. He has worked extensively in the worlds of tango, fado and flamenco; he has choreographed many ballets including Cléopâtre – Ida Rubinstein for Andris Liepa’s Les Saisons Russes which performs at the London Coliseum in July 2013.

Jérôme Kaplan – set and costume design Jérôme was born in Paris and has designed sets and costumes for numerous ballets including L’enfant et les Sortilèges, Roméo et Juliette, Cendrillon (Cinderella), Casse-Noisette Circus, and in 2009 Scheherazade for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. He created costumes for Raise the Red Lantern staged by director Zhang Yimou for the National Ballet of China in Beijing; The Prince of the Pagodas for Strasbourg Opera and In the Mood for Love for Shanghai Ballet. He has worked with ballet and opera companies in Korea, Finland, Stockholm, Moscow, Amsterdam and the UK.

Nick RONG Rongjun YU – librettist Nick Yu is a professional playwright and deputy general manager of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. He has written more than 40 works for stage and screen and was attached to the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2008. His plays have been presented in English, Turkish, Japanese and in many countries around the world. Since 2005 he has also been chief director of the Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre Festival.

Shanghai Ballet Company (director XIN Lili) was founded in 1966 and gained its current name in 1979. The company is part of the Shanghai Grand Theatre Group and performs a blend of traditional and Western dance styles. One of their best known works is The White-haired Girl which won the Gold Medal of the Best Classical Dance Works of the 20th Century in China which helped established the company’s predominant position in China’s ballet world. Since then Shanghai Ballet have created and staged numerous productions and have won an impressive haul of medals for its young dancers. The company actively participates in cultural exchange with artists and companies throughout China and abroad and is looking forward to its UK debut in August.

Saisons Russes

Les Saisons Russes du XXIe Siecle, returning to London in 2013.

3-saisons-russeFollowing a triumphant Coliseum Diaghilev Festival debut in 2011 and four sell-out seasons in Paris at the Theatre des Champs Elysees Les Saisons Russes du XXIe Siecle, returning to London in 2013.

Andris Liepa, former Bolshoi Ballet star turned ballet entrepreneur, is to return to the London Coliseum with his company Les Saisons Russes du XX1e Siecle from July 16th to July 20th 2013. The company will perform three programmes – a total of six ballets – which will include the London premiere of Cléopâtre – Ida Rubinstein, choreographed by Patrick de Bana plus five of Mikhail Fokine’s greatest works: Le Spectre de la Rose, Scheherazade, Chopiniana, Polovetsian Dances and The Firebird.

The Programmes

Programme 1 Cleopatra/Ida Rubinstein, Le Spectre de la Rose, The Firebird
Programme 2 Cleopatra/Ida Rubinstein, Scheherazade
Programme 3 Cleopatra/Ida Rubinstein, Chopiniana, Polovetsian Dances

The Works

Cléopâtre – Ida Rubinstein is choreographer Patrick de Bana’s tribute to the enigmatic actress/dancer Ida Rubinstein (1885-1960) and star of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes who danced in the title role during the company’s Paris season of 1909. Ida danced with the company for two years and left in 1911 to form her own company. Adored for her luminous stage presence as much as her dancing, Ida quickly became a popular Belle Epoque figure in the arts world as well as a generous benefactor. Details of her personal life have remained sketchy through the decades and de Bana draws on history and urban myth to create the mysterious, glamorous world of Ida as she rehearses and performs what was to become her greatest role.

Cléopâtre – Ida Rubinstein recounts the story of the creation of Cléopâtre by Fokine in 1909; De Bana has chosen music by the great composers who collaborated regularly with the Ballets Russes such as Stravinsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov, Faure and Ravel; in addition he has employed the music of Omar Faruk Tekbilek, the renowned Turkish flautist and one of the world’s foremost exponents of Middle Eastern music whose compositions give de Bana’s ballet a beautiful, mysterious extra dimension. The London premiere will feature Ilze Liepa, (above) sister of Andris, in the title role. Full company details will be announced early 2013.

Scheherazade is a symphonic suite composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888 based on One Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights). Classically exotic and influenced by the dazzling colours and costumes of the Far East – thrillingly fashionable and excitingly new in the history of Imperial Russia – the music for Scheherazade is used in a ballet by Fokine in a racy tale of entrapment, betrayal and murder. In 1993 Andris Liepa set about restoring Scheherazade with the help of Fokine’s granddaughter, Isabelle Fokina. The restored ballet – along with Petrushka and Firebird were filmed and the result, ‘The Return of Firebird’, was an award-winning feature film directed and produced by Andris Liepa. In 2002 Andris brought Scheherazade to Rome’s Opera House and premiered the production in London in 2011.

Chopiniana is a dreamy, romantic ballet blanc that was born in St Petersburg in 1907 and moved to Paris in 1909 under the new name of Les Sylphides. Fokine’s original choreography, set to music by Chopin, was introduced to the public in 1893 and conducted by Rimsky- Korsakov. “It defies an obvious single label – it’s a ballet of mood, a white ballet, a choreographic suite. It is pure, simple and requires no introduction or context. It is ballet-forballet’s sake and breathtakingly beautiful.” (dancetabs) “The evening is a choreographic homage to my father,” saya Andris Liepa. “Chopiniana was his favorite ballet. Our version recreates the designs by Ballets Russes costume and set designer Alexandre Benois.”

The Polovetsian Dances are perhaps the best known selections from Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor (1890) and are often played as a stand-alone concert piece. The opera was left unfinished at Borodin’s death and was subsequently completed by composers Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov. The first dance follows The Chorus of the Polovtsian Maidens which opens the act and is followed by Konchakovna’s Cavatina. Andris’ sister Ilze will dance the lead role in a staging that uses replicas of the costumes designed by the Russian painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich for the original production.

The Firebird is a ballet and orchestral concert work by Stravinsky written for and successfully premiered at the 1910 Paris season of Ballets Russes with choreography by Fokine. The ballet is based on Russian folk tales of the magical glowing bird of the same name that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor. Stravinsky was a virtually unknown composer when Diaghilev recruited him to create works for the Ballets Russes; The Firebird was his first project.

The Art of Revival

The names of Diaghilev, Fokine, Nijinsky and many other leading lights of Russian ballet were dimmed in their native country for decades after they chose to stay in the West following the 1917 Revolution. Andris Liepa has devoted a large part of his career to resurrecting the Russian Seasons ballets in their original form, together with the Kremlin Ballet troupe and other international ballet stars.

“After the Revolution,” explains Liepa, “virtually all the works went to the West, and the best representatives of Russian culture – all the artists, composers, choreographers – all went to the West. Very few remained and those who did couldn’t officially say they were the heirs to artists such as Mikhail Fokine. The idea of reviving and bringing these artists and wonderful works back to life, and particularly back to Russia where they began, started on my birthday, January 6th 1991; I decided to visit Diaghilev’s grave on the island of San Michele near Venice. The place was deserted. I saw the shoes dancers leave on his grave and I felt I had to give something too, so I danced my father’s version of Diaghilev’s Le Spectre de la Rose. Only in 1992, thanks to the Lunacharsky Library (now the St Petersburg State Theatre Library) was I able to see the things that Fokine had had sent to Leningrad. They hadn’t been seen by anyone since 1957. When Perestroika happened, I was the first person allowed to see these unique things.”

Patrick de Bana: Born in Hamburg to a German mother and Nigerian father, ballet dancer and choreographer Patrick de Bana (left) studied at the Hamburg Ballet School before joining the Béjart Ballet Lausanne in 1987 where he quickly became principal dancer. He left Béjart Ballet Lausanne in 1992 in order to join the Compania Nacional de Danza of Spain – National Dance Company of Spain – (directed by Nacho Duato) where he stayed as principal dancer for ten years. His repertoire included works by Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, William Forsythe, Mats Ek and more; he also began developing artistic ties with the world of flamenco. In 2003 Patrick formed his own company, Nafas Dance Company and won awards for Best Male Dancer and Best Dance Performance from the Generalitat of Valencia. “Nafas means ‘breath’ in Turkish,” says Patrick. “I gave my company this title because breath is life. After my years with the Spanish National Dance Company I wanted to express myself in a new and unique way of my own; I wanted a new breath, a new soul.”

Patrick worked with the renowned Spanish film director and photographer, Carlos Saura, choreographing and performing in the tango film ‘Iberia’ (2004) and the fado music and dance documentary ‘Fados’ (2006). In 2007 Patrick continued his passion for fado when he toured Europe with the internationally acclaimed fado singer Mariza and for flamenco when he toured with the world famous flamenco star Eva La Yerbabuena. Patrick has performed all over the world and has choreographed many ballets including ‘Aman’, a ballet inspired by the Greek myths of Penelope and Ulysses; ‘Kelmady’, about the cyclical nature of waiting; ‘Creatures’ which the Tokyo Ballet premiered in 2010; ‘Jane Eyre’ which premieres in Shanghai in October 2012 and ‘Cleopatre – Ida Rubinstein’ which premiered at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris this year and which will make its London premiere at the Coliseum in July 2013.

Andris Liepa was born in 1962 into a famous artistic family; his father Maris Liepa was one of the Bolshoi’s legendary dancers. Andris trained at Moscow Ballet School and then joined the Bolshoi Ballet Company, dancing the lead role in many productions including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Swan Lake and many more. In 1988 Andris became the first Russian dancer who was officially allowed to work in a foreign company; he subsequently appeared as a guest artist with New York City Ballet and then ABT for whom he interpreted Siegfried in Baryshnikov’s version of Swan Lake, and danced in Kenneth Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet and in Balanchine’s Violin Concerto. He has also appeared with Maurice Bejart’s Ballet of the 20th Century and was a permanent guest soloist with the Kirov Ballet. Andris has won prizes at many international competitions; he is the author of the film project The Return of the Firebird for which he revived three legendary masterpieces by Fokine: Petrushka, Firebird, and Scheherazade. In addition to dancing the lead roles in all three ballets, he was also producer and director.

Together with his sister Ilze, Andris founded the Maris Liepa Charitable Foundation. He is the inspiration and director, manager and producer of The Russian Seasons of the 21st Century.

Roland Petit’s Coppélia

The Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet debuts Coppélia at the London Coliseum 6 performances only Thursday 11 to 14 July 2013

2-moscow-stanislawskyThe Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet brings Roland Petit’s 1975 version of one of the world’s most well-known and charming ballets, Coppélia, to the London Coliseum for the first time this July, with music from the English National Ballet Orchestra.

The story follows the comic adventures of the red-blooded Franz and how he falls in love with a beautiful, life-like doll. The doll – Coppélia – is created by the eccentric yet mysterious toymaker Dr Coppelius. The funny plot thickens when Franz’s jealous lover, Swanhilda, takes her friends on an adventure into the spooky toyshop of the mad toymaker to confront her rival. Of course, the story ends happily after the truth is uncovered. The whole town joins the most fabulous wedding celebration for the besotted Franz and Swanhilda.

The vibrant musical score was composed especially for the ballet, in 1870, by the great master Leo Delibes. It features well-loved classics such as the stirring Act I Mazurka and the grand Waltz of the Hours.

The Moscow Stanislavsky Ballet company was formed in 1929 by former Bolshoi ballet star Victoria Krieger and quickly established itself as one of Russia’s leading Ballet companies touring extensively across Europe and the USA. The company brings together the finest principal dancers including Sergei Polunin, Semyon Velichko, Kristina Shapran and Erika Mikirticheva. It is led by the General Director Vladimir Urin and internationally renowned dancer Igor Zelensky is Artistic Director.


Swanilda : Erika Mikirticheva, Kristina Shapran, Natalia Somova
Frantz: Sergei Polunin, Dmitry Sobolevsky, Semyon Velichko
Coppelius: Anton Domashev

11 July (eve): Sergei Polunin, Kristina Shapran
12 July (mat): Dmitry Sobolevsky, Natalia Somova
12 July (eve): Semyon Velichko, Erika Mikirticheva
13 July (mat): Sergei Polunin, Kristina Shapran
13 July (eve): Semyon Velichko, Natalia Somova
14 July (mat): Sergei Polunin, Erika Mikirticheva

Music by Leo Delibes
Choreography by Roland Petit
Staged by Luigi Bonino
Choreographic Assistant – Gillian Whittingham
Set Designer – Ezio Frigerio
Assistant Set Designer– Guiliano Spinelli
Costume Designer– Franca Squarchapino
Associate Costume Designer – Laura Lo Surdo
Lighting Designer: Jean-Michel Desire
Conductor – Anton Grishanin

Los Vivancos

Seven sensational brothers to turn up the heat in the West End with extreme flamenco

1-los-vivancosThe West End’s temperature is set to soar this summer as seven brothers with model good looks and killer dance moves make their London stage debut.

With rippling torsos and lightning fast footwork, Los Vivancos ooze passion and macho attitude from every pore. They have fast become one of Spain’s biggest global success stories, dancing up a storm and winning standing ovations from more than a million people to date.

Now it’s London’s turn to fall under their spell as they premiere Los Vivancos: Aeternum, a good-versus-evil story set in the world of the paranormal and supernatural with the brothers playing angels, demons and vampires, at the London Coliseum for one night only on Tuesday July 9.

The choreography in Los Vivancos: Aeternum mixes fearless flamenco with ballet, martial arts, tap dance and a sprinkling of magic. The brothers have also composed the music in the show, a fusion of flamenco, rock and
classical sounds. Los Vivancos play instruments on stage and are joined by seven female musicians, the Maszka Band, from Budapest. With costumes ranging from traditional to contemporary and lots of bare flesh on show, Los Vivancos: Aeternum is a spectacular, unforgettable production.

As young boys growing up around the world, Aaron, Cristo, Elias, Israel, Josué, Josua and Judah Vivancos learned to play instruments and created exciting acrobatic routines to show off their talents in special performances for their family. After graduating from the Professional Conservatory of Dance in Barcelona they went their separate ways to study with international dance companies, including in England, Canada, France and Holland. They reunited back in Spain in 2006 and formed Los Vivancos. Today the group has grown into an award-winning global brand that has seen the band of brothers perform in 73 cities in 34 countries. Now they have the West End in their sights!