By CCTV correspondent Song Yaotian
Ballet may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you hear the name Spartacus. But, a ballet by the late composer Aram Khachaturian is well respected in the arts world and has now been revived in China. Legendary dancer and choreographer Yury Grigorovich has directed the piece, produced by the Liaoning Ballet.
The former Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Theatre, Yury Grigorovich, dominated the Russian ballet scene for 30 years. And now his signature piece Spartacus has finally made its way onto the Beijing stage thanks to the Liaoning Ballet at Beijing's NCPA.
The piece follows the exploits of Spartacus, leader of the slave uprising against the Romans known as the Third Servile War. The story of Spartacus, an example of oppressed people fighting for their freedom against a slave-owning oligarchy has inspired works of literature, TV series and films and of course this ballet- choreographed in 1968 by Grigorovich.
Unlike other Russian ballets emphasizing the grace of femininity, this piece enhances the masculine charm of the male form, while convincingly recreating scenes from Ancient Rome.
"This version is exactly the same as the version we staged at the Bolshoi Theatre. No changes whatsoever. The conductor is the principal conductor of Bolshoi, and the stage design- we did that in Russia and brought all of it here to Beijing," choreographer Yury Grigorouvich says.
Yury Grigorovich says the work is seldom produced outside Russia, as it demands so much from the male dancers. He couldn't imagine that Liaoning Ballet only rehearsed for two months.
"It's a surprise to me. I mean, the lights, costumes, stage design, especially the performance of the dancers. All of these things went beyond my expectations. I think this production is a great success," an audience says.
This is the first collaboration between Grigorovich and a Chinese ballet troupe. Liaoning ballet hopes to team up with more Russian artists in the future, not only to create more quality stage productions, but to learn from these artists and their rich balletic traditions.