ABT: AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE


Photo: Eric Williams.



ABT IN CHINA


HONG KONG
Grand Theatre
Hong Kong Cultural Center

February 21-23
Repertory Program

February 27-March 3
Romeo and Juliet

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BEIJING
National Centre for the Performing Arts

March 6-7
Repertory Program

March 8-10
Swan Lake

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Copyright 2013
Ballet Theatre Foundation, Inc.
All rights reserved.

ABT IN CHINA
A Dancer Blog


Zhong-Jing Fang, ABT Corps de Ballet.
Photo: Jade Young.
Hello everyone! I am Zhong-Jing Fang, currently the only Chinese ballerina at American Ballet Theatre. As professional dancers here, we are privileged to work with the world's greatest artists and choreographers to prepare a very unique global performance .... And this time, we are coming to China!

I am SO honored and excited that I will be blogging for this trip to the country where I was born. Please stay tuned with me, the journey is about to begin!


February 17, 2013
Travel Day!


So here we are... all packed, ready, and excited about this overseas trip. Our first stop is Hong Kong! And right before the boarding at the JFK airport we had this nice little moment to say goodbye to NYC for now! ^.^

After 15 hours of flying we finally arrived in Hong Kong at night. The warm weather is making us really tired, and at this moment we're just quietly getting ready to get on the bus, go to the hotel and rest. Tomorrow is going to be a brand new day for us!


February 19, 2013
First Day in Hong Kong!

@5:30AM my eyes are wide open! So I took a shower got myself ready for the breakfast downstairs. It didn't surprise me that most of the staff, crew and dancers were already there... Ah, jet lag!

Next, I meet the dancers to go to the theatre for the very first time. A few of us got lost before we met everyone else, but we enjoyed the moment to just be tourists!

We are the new kids in town! Here we are enjoying this nice weath and, yes, the theatre is right next to this beautiful view behind us! ^o^






February 20, 2013



The day before opening night. I got up early again and headed to the theatre to get ready for rehearsals.

Before entering the theatre I walked to the pier area where you can see the water, the boats and the buildings across the sea... I took a deep breath with the cool wind, enjoying this meditating moment before starting a very intense rehearsal day. Feeling ready and excited! ^.^






The jet lag REALLY hit on us around 3pm! So, while resting in between rehearsals I started paparazzing the dancers to keep myself awake.

Sooo beautiful and surreal... feels just like a dream... -.-




February 21, 2013

So excited - Caryn Wells (our wardrobe lady) is making a brand new costume for Skylar Brandt. Skylar will be performing with Sterling Baca tomorrow in my piece, The Final Frame, at the Hong Kong young people's matinee. And Caryn is only make everything extra sweet... ^.~




When we have the most beautiful, cool, sweet visitor - Ms. Josephine Barbee, one of the youngest members of the ABT family - the day always gets brighter! Here she is with her mom, Julie Kent. ^.^



ABT @ The 41st Hong Kong Arts Festival

Opening Night... is happening right now! ^o^



February 22, 2013
Big Day for Me!

This afternoon The Final Frame will be performed in Asia for the very first time. I created the piece two years ago for ABT's Innovation Initiative. I never thought it would be performed again, especially in my home country! Happy and nervous at the same time... I got to the theatre extremely early, dazing like a nerd, thinking about speaking to the Hong Kong audience later... (Sigh)

The performance went flawlessly! I danced, spoke, and watched Skylar and Sterling give an incredible performance, I am so honored and proud! Also, a sa choreographer, what I have learned today is to let it go the very last minute, to trust the work, the dancers and yourself, then everything else will follow! This experience was truly a blessing for me. Thank you ABT, thank you Hong Kong!


First performance of Balanchine's Symphony in C is about to start... Everyone is  getting ready and excited for it! This is James Whiteside backstage.



From the audience you could tell that they REALLY loved this amazing ballet just like all of us did! Fulfilled as a Balanchine girl tonight! ^_^




An international classmate reunion in Hong Kong!

Later, after the show, I met up with my classmate from China who has also been Roman Zhurbin's classmate in the U.S. What a small world!

And what a day for me! >o<





February 23, 2013
Before Sunset on Saturday...

In between the performances I enjoyed the sidewalk next to the theatre.

And the view was simply breathtaking... !





Fred and Irene Shen.
Photo: Joe Schildhorn/BFA.
February 25, 2013
Day Off!

Introducing my sponsors: Irene and Fred Shen. They are like my second parents since I came to the U.S.

I am SO happy they are here right now in Hong Kong to support ABT! And today, they're going to take us on a special trip in this beautiful city! Can't wait! ^.^




A nice day to begin with a ferry ride across the ocean. Breathing in the fresh air ... and a little Titanic moment... :p

Then we head to the peak tram, the train that will take us all the way to the top of the mountain. We are all enjoying this ride- it's a bit like in Disneyland!

I am so happy our angel (Physical Therapist) Julie Daugherty is with us on this whole China trip. Julie's the one who helped me get back on stage two years ago when I had my ankle injury!

Then we arrived at the famous Victoria Peak! Looking down the mountain you can see this beautiful view of the whole city... So modern, chic and clever!

And a few of us also enjoying the stretching at the "barre"... Something very different ! ^.~

At a private house belonging to friends of the Shens - what a luxurious place to be!

Now we are having some afternoon tea with the Shens' friends.

And in the end, we enjoyed our little creativity moment inspired by the beautiful and traditional Chinese house behind us... Playing some Apollo like La Bayadère's Shades! ^.~

We had this neat boat ride by a real fisherman!

With the wind blowing at us warmly, I saw the beautiful full moon just coming out, and I realized today is the Chinese Lantern Festival. It's a holiday we celebrate with families. At this peaceful moment, I feel so connected with my family in Shanghai... and my family here at ABT!

I feel so grateful for the generosity my sponsors give, and that they made this trip so special and memorable!

We ate dinner at this huge boat called the Floating Restaurant. Afterwards, Tom Forster and Gray Davis enjoyed having their photo taken in the Chinese Emperor and the Queen's costumes. They're looking great! ^o^

A typical Chinese opera! ^.~

(Featuring Julio Bragado-Young, Marcelo Gomes, Kristi Boone, Sean Stewart and Adrienne Schulte!)



February 26, 2013

And here we are again - second week, second round... Rehearsing Romeo and Juliet on stage! Preparing for this week!




February 27, 2013

Breakfast at the Royal Pacific Hotel. Good morning, Hong Kong, good morning, Maddox Gibson! So glad to see him with us on this tour... and we all know he loves his mom: Marian Butler! :) #ABTKids




Opening Night of Romeo and Juliet!

Getting ready for the first performance!

This is Alexandra Basmagy's makeover into character from the Italian Renaissance! I think the look is coming back! #Style ^.~



Some of opening night cast of Romeo and Juliet after the performance: Sascha Radetsky as Tybalt, Craig Salstein as Mercutio and Blaine Hoven as Benvolio.

On stage they fought, afterwards they're friends!


Dear friends, if you haven't watch ABT's Romeo and Juliet, I suggest you to put it on your to-do lists. It's a must-see ballet! And it explains the reason we are here.


Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake - it's everything except what it is!

— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Act I, Scene 1)


And it is here now at the Hong Kong Cultural Center! ^o^


March 1, 2013

Today, Clinton Luckett is hosting the young audience matinee.

Here, he's explaining the two families from Romeo and Juliet.



I always like being a member of Juliet's family - because you get to enter the Ball!
^.~

These are some of the costumes worn by the ball guests.



I'm quietly watching the Hong Kong audience have a conversation with our Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie after the performance.

It is late, but no one wants to leave! ^.^



Two More Days Left in Hong Kong

I took a long walk along the side of the water. I really enjoy this beautiful view here, especially at night. The water is shining and colorful from the reflection of the light. Just like a kaleidoscope, it changes when it waves... Peacefully!



March 2, 2013
Debuts!

As artists and dancers it's always exciting for us to play a new role and to create a new character. Congratulations to Polina Semionova  who debuted as Juliet with ABT in Hong Kong! Also to Nicola Curry (pictured here), who performed a marvelous Lady Capulet!

While watching Nicola act, a memory came back to me. I was thinking of my mentor, Georgina Parkinson, who gave me strength to continue on this journey!



March 3, 2013

I can't believe two weeks have gone by so fast! It's already time for our last show in Hong Kong.

I just received a cool cupcake as a merde gift from Katie Williams to boost my last performance here, as one of Juliet's friends. Very me, and very Hong Kong! ^.^



March 4, 2013
Good-bye, Hong Kong

What a great two weeks we have had. Now, it's time to head to Beijing.

Goodbye, Hong Kong! We will see you next time! ^.^


After the three-hour flight we arrived at the Beijing airport.

The air is not bad at all right now, but we enjoying our little fashion masks! ^.~


Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Here We Are... Beijing!

A place with lots of history and tradition... And it is my home country! ^.^



March 6, 2013
Getting Ready for Opening Night

Our first Company class in Beijing - the floor is very different but we will get used to it! ^.^



This is the lobby inside our theatre, the National Centre for the Performing Arts.

So incredible!

 


Even though I'm not performing in the rep program, I'm curious about the stage and rehearsals.

I watched the rehearsals from the wings for a bit - here's Sascha Radetsky practicing his tap dance for Rodeo tonight! Super cool!



And this is Stephanie Williams getting ready for her rehearsal for Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes.

March 6, 2013

Today, we had a long rehearsal day. Not everything is smooth yet, plus the air is getting really bad, and extremely dry. It's difficult to dance but we are all fighting through it! The mind somehow plays tricks on us - Can we all survive for these last 4 days? At this moment, we can only take one day at a time and believe we all have the will power to dance, and to dance well!

Later, I got back to my room, turned on my tv, and look what I saw: "American Ballet Theatre in Beijing" on CCTV News! I felt like I was part of such a historical moment! How inspiring... and from my heart a voice said, "Yes, we can do it!!!"

 

(You can watch the CCTV News segment here!)

 


March 8, 2013
First Performance of Swan Lake!

The opening night of Swan Lake was incredibly successful! Marcelo Gomes and Veronika Part both danced beautifully and passionately as the Prince and the Swan Queen. I had little sweet moment with the Prince as the Hungarian Princess... Even though I got rejected in the end for the Black Swan! But it was so worth it to dance with the Prince, with an intense eye-gazing moment on stage... my heart just melted! >.<

The Beijing audience really enjoyed our performance. You can tell by the applause and whistles at the end of the evening!!! I felt so happy and fulfilled having just danced in my home country with such amazing Company! The energy was sooo high that I probably won't be able to sleep for awhile. ^o^

 



March 9, 2013

This week has been really rough on us, and we're pretty much only spending time in the theatre or at the hotel. But it's one of the best hotels that we've ever stayed in! Every night after the show, I enjoy my own little bathtub and unwinding by myself!

 

And here's Marcelo Gomes again, with Herman Cornejo posing at the hotel... Very Vogue! #ABT_On_Tour ^.~

 

 



March 10, 2013
Last Performance at the National Centre for the Performing Arts

It's been so wonderful to see how much China has grown since I left the country as a little girl. And this theatre is incredibly unique in its architecture. (Plus, in this collage of photos there's a poster from a performance during our last tour to Beijing!)

I'm very excited to perform our last Swan Lake here!

 

 



March 11, 2013
Good-bye, Beijing!

Finally, the performance finished with everyone cheering. And soon we are all packed and ready to travel back to the U.S.

I felt happiness from everything I see in the moments, and I looked this "forbidden city" while we are on the bus, the view became so peaceful, and surreal again, with mixed color like a rainbow. I feel so grateful that how beautiful life can be if you allow yourself to dream... anything is possible! Sometimes when one journey finishes another will begin, and I will keep those beautiful moments with me to welcome our next one!

Thanks to all our friends who are reading this blog, and stay with us... Because there are more interesting stories coming! ^.~

Good-bye China, and good-bye my friends and readers! I will see you next time!
Love, Zhong-Jing