A Ballet Worth The Hype: The Shanghai Ballet’s Production of Butterfly Lovers

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The world renowned Shanghai Ballet performs their production of the 2001 Chinese Ballet “Butterfly Lovers” in the Tryon Festival Theatre at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

By Elena Grantcharski

Ticket stub for the Wednesday performance of Butterfly Lovers

Butterfly Lovers was a very emotive ballet with a romance story that attacked my hopeless romantic heart. The fact that this story was in the format of a ballet is very significant because the dancers did a very good job of showing how ballet is a very powerful and emotive dance form. Throughout the ballet, they show the yearning they have for each other and you can feel the strong emotional tension between them through the types of dance moves. There is a lot of push and pull in their dancing which perfectly describes the unfortunate circumstance of their relationship. They always try to pull each other together but always get pushed apart by society and by the other people in their lives.

Image from the ballet portraying the emotive nature of the dancing.

A huge aspect of ballet is the aesthetic. The costumes are fundamental to the aspect in a ballet since there are not really stage props because the stage is meant to mainly be filled up by the dancers themselves. In my opinion, in this ballet all the costumes were extremely beautiful but I could not take my eyes off the costumes of the corps de ballet. The glittery tutus only made the skillful and mesmerizing dancing that more brilliant. The costumes gave a mystical feeling to the completely synced dancing of the corps de ballet.

One of the fantastic costumes of the corps de ballet can be seen in this image.

My favorite act was probably the third act because of its intense and dramatic nature. The feelings of despair Zhu had while she was being married to the school bully and the way she was able to display the fight she had to go through with her father just with dancing was spectacular. The fight between Liang and the school bully was also amazing and the use of the lighting made it that much intense. The way that Liang was defeated was extremely powerful and evoked feelings of melancholy. This act was the best for me because I was just extremely impressed by the dancers’ ability to portray so much by just moving their bodies. There was no need for words and that is the beauty of ballet.

My favorite act was probably the third act because of its intense and dramatic nature. The feelings of despair Zhu had while she was being married to the school bully and the way she was able to display the fight she had to go through with her father just with dancing was spectacular. The fight between Liang and the school bully was also amazing and the use of the lighting made it that much intense. The way that Liang was defeated was extremely powerful and evoked feelings of melancholy. This act was the best for me because I was just extremely impressed by the dancers’ ability to portray so much by just moving their bodies. There was no need for words and that is the beauty of ballet.

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