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The Shanghai Ballet

August 26, 2002
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

George Mason Universitys Center for the Arts
welcomes the Shanghai Ballet

Two performances:
Saturday, September 28 the company dances The White Haired Girl and Sunday, September 29, Coppelia

Fairfax, Virginia, August 26, 2002 -- Born out of the age of reform in the People?s Republic of China, the Shanghai Ballet represents a microcosm of the reform and opening up in the Republic as it develops and sharpens its own repertoire. Formed in 1979, the company adheres to t h e international traditions of classical ballet, while recognizing the importance of creating ballets based in the folk traditions. Traveling the globe, the Shanghai Ballet brings this highly desirable mix of the ancient and the classical, and East and W est, to ballet lovers everywhere.

For its highly anticipated debut at the Center for the Arts in Fairfax, the Shanghai Ballet dances a classical 20th century Chinese ballet, The White Haired Girl, on Saturday, September 28 at 8PM and one of ball et's most treasured jewels, Coppelia, on Sunday, September 29 at 2PM. Tickets are $24-$48 (special Family Friendly prices apply to children twelve and under!) and are available through at 703-218-6500, or in person at the Center for th e Arts box office. Ticket holders are encouraged to attend a thirty-minute artistic discussion, led by a company member, on the Grand Tier of the Concert Hall beginning 45-minutes prior to each curtain.

The "white-haired girl," is a poor peasant who i s tormented by an evil landlord until she escape s to the mountains, where her hair turns ghostly white. One of the Eight Model Operas during the Cultural Revolution, The White Haired Girl premiered in 1965, and has been staged over 1,400 times since. Wi t h subject matter from the communist activities o r related subjects, these model plays, officially formed during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) were the only plays permitted performance at that time. With the introduction of these model plays, new performing styles and forms developed in China. For example, modern weapons were first used onstage, instead of spears and swords. New costuming and orchestral accompaniment were introduced and stage setting was also enriched. As the first Chinese ballet based on real-life in China, The White Haired
Gi rl
expresses the experiences of the peasants, moving the audience with its depiction of triumph over adversity.

Coppelia premiered May 25, 1870 at the Theatre Imperial de l'Opera (Paris Opera). Coppelia is probably the most often performed and best-known com edy ballet, and, as a breakaway from the sad, Romantic ballets of the day, Coppelia was an immediate success with its humor, vigorous national dances and brightness. It was cr eated at a time when Paris was slipping from its position as the dance capital of the world, and the popularity of ballet was declining. With its artistic cohesiveness and its incorporation of national dances, the ballet was forward-looking for th e times, laying some of the groundwork for the Classical ballet that was yet to come. As Delibes blended classical composition with folkloric, dance-music styles (Coppelia is the first ballet to contain a czardas, a complicated Hungarian folk dance) its m asterful music is often cited as a key reason for the popularity Coppelia has always enj oyed.

The Shanghai Ballet's dancers have won international accolades in competitions throughout Asia and Europe. Principal dancer Zhang Wiying is the recipient of 1994's USA International Ballet Competition and holder of a special award given at the Shanghai International Ballet Competition in 1995.

Tickets for the Shanghai Ballet are $48-24. Both performances by the Shanghai Ballet are Family Friendly ? all c hildren, twelve and under, are half price! Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersecti on of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Con cert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University's College of Visual a nd Perfor ming Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment i n which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in th e arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Colle ge draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a d iverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.