Melbourne Secures National Ballet Of China Showstopper

21 September 2016

Based on a true story from China's revolutionary past, acclaimed opera ballet The Red Detachment of Women will be performed by the National Ballet of China, in its Australian debut at the Arts Centre Melbourne in February.

In Beijing, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the coup for Victoria's cultural calendar as part of the new Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA) which will feature the top contemporary performing, visual, screen and literary arts from across Asia in 2017.

One of the great ballet companies of the world, the National Ballet of China, will give four performances of the iconic production in collaboration with Orchestra Victoria and in association with The Australian Ballet.

Now more than fifty years old, The Red Detachment of Women first premiered in 1964 and is well known as the ballet performed for US President Richard Nixon on his visit to the People’s Republic of China in 1972. It was also brought to life on the big screen in Mao's Last Dancer - a film about the life of ballet dancer, Li Cunxin.

Asia TOPA is the new landmark festival-style celebration of Asian culture and performance, to be held in Melbourne from January to April 2017.

Chinese artists featuring in the program include an installation by Hi An at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, a performance by Chong Wang about China's One-Child policy, and work by China’s leading contemporary choreographer Tao Ye.

The Australian debut of The Red Detachment of Women was made possible through the Victoria China Cultural Exchange Partnership, which recognises the importance of deeper cultural understanding and appreciation through the Arts.

Victoria’s thriving creative and cultural economy employs more than 220,000 people, generates around $1.4 billion in exports and attracts cultural tourism worth $1 billion.

Quotes attributable to the Premier Daniel Andrews

“The Red Detachment of Women has captivated audiences around the world for decades, and now for the very first time in Australia, this iconic work will be staged in the arts and cultural capital of our country - Melbourne.”

“This is an esteemed company performing a ballet unlike anything we've seen in our theatres before, and I have no doubt these shows will sell out fast.”

Quote attributable to Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer

"Arts Centre Melbourne is honoured to be presenting the National Ballet of China's iconic work, The Red Detachment of Women , as a Melbourne exclusive. It is the centrepiece of the opening week of Asia TOPA and we couldn't be more thrilled."

Image courtesy Arts Centre Melbourne and the National Ballet of China

Reviewed 19 August 2020

Was this page helpful?