Under the direction of Artistic Director Xin Lili, the Shanghai Ballet makes their Minnesota debut with their production of The Butterfly Lovers, a classical masterwork that follows a young couple’s ill-fated romance.
Despite the Chinese folktale’s various retellings with origins dating all the way back to the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD), the story’s essentials remain constant. As the ballet opens, a strong-willed daughter of a wealthy family who, at a time when girls were not allowed to attend school, disguises herself as a boy to get a proper education. She soon falls for a male schoolmate named Liang Shanbo who remains unaware of his good friend’s true gender until she is summoned to return home. From there, a tale of love and heartbreak unravels before the audience, often characterized as China’s Romeo and Juliet.
Through elegant choreography, splendid costuming, and evocative sets, worlds within the performance are created that are grounded in both realism and fantasy. Juxtaposed with the artistry of the Shanghai Ballet dancers and their ability to articulate technique with the highest level of emotional and dramatic expression, the bittersweet beauty of the ardor of young love is brought to life in this captivating performance.
Get a glimpse of the stunning ballet through this video, before seeing the Shanghai Ballet perform live next Tuesday, November 12 at 7:30pm.
Get your tickets at the Orpheum Theater box office now or online here.