Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe Swan Lake

After watching another breathtaking  performance of Swan Lake, by the famous Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe, it is surprising to think of  the audience in a normal rendition of Swan Lake  getting excited at the chance of watching 32 fouettes.

The final act of the Guangdong performance leaves all other acts far behind in artistic delivery. Many thousands of YouTube viewers will agree the final act of the two leading dancers is a magnificent scene to watch. The Swan princess, played by Wu Zhengdan, with one leg raised in true ballet style, stands on the top of the head of Wei Baohua, her Prince and slowly rotates while holding her arms above in jubilant fashion.

The scene is so brilliantly done the audience may wonder if the Prince has a skull similar to that of a billiard table and whether the princess has some type of adhesive lining her feet. The audience accepts this almost as if it is a natural act and may ask what next is there to surprise them.

This performance was developed almost 10 years ago and began life as the ballet Oriental Swan Ballet on Top of Head and  took top honours at an international circus competition. The scene Baohua and Zhengdan, off stage partners,  present as the finale of the performance is not only mind boggling, and appearing to involve some trickery, but is artistic and beautiful as well.

The same cannot be said for the rest of the show which at times seems a little mediocre. The audience is captivated by the lightness and ability of Zhengdan, who has made the transition from gymnast to ballet star with remarkable ease. She utilises her almost perfect body to full advantage and leaves the audience gasping for breath at some of her manoeurvres such as the pirouette performed on the shoulder of Baohua.

Baohua  gives a commanding stage performance. He has great physical strength, highlighted by his  powerful neck and head. Together they are the perfect pair for this version of Swan Lake but a viewer may wonder at who could take over as this seems to have been made for them.

For the remainder of the performance there is little to hold the audience riveted. In parts it is almost like a comedy. Tchaikovsky’s music score is used  in the Guangdong Swan Lake and there are some elements of  Ivanov Petipa choreography which come through.