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.
Since its founding, 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.
In the words of a critic, “The Shanghai Ballet is as elegant as the delicate porcelain imported from China.”