By Jeremy Breningstall
The Scottish Ballet came to the Shanghai Grand Theatre May 22-23 and the company was kind enough to provide a backstage view. Preparations for the Friday night performances of “Carmen” and “Pennies from Heaven.” began in the morning with 90 minutes of stretches and practice routines with the ballet’s pianist providing the music.
The dancers regrouped after a lunch break to rehearse “Carmen,” choreographed by Richard Alston, in full with a live orchestra. Workers then set up the classic bar and wall towers for “Pennies from Heaven,” choreographed by Ashley Page (a period piece dedicated to dance numbers from the 1930s). After touching up a few motions, the ballet was ready to put on its live shows.
Earlier in the week, the ballet stopped in Nanjing and performed at the Great Hall of the People (pictures of the live show, in full dress, were taken there).
The Scottish Ballet will next perform the two pieces May 26-27 (today and tomorrow) at Mei Lanfang Theatre (Poly Plaza) in Beijing. Forty dancers and 20 backstage staff are touring with the company. It is the Scottish Ballet’s first visit to China in 17 years.