Closer Look: Jin Xing, China’s first transgender woman

I was born in China. It is in China I must be reborn as a woman. Jin Xing was the first transgender person to undergo sex reassignment surgery in China with government approval, and the first whose sex change was officially recognized by the Chinese government. As a boy, Jin had an affinity for dancing and soon [...]

The Chinese New Year: Nutcracker, China style

National Ballet of China’s The Chinese New Year, a Chinese adaptation of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker, is without a doubt the most extravagant celebration of the national holiday that anyone could hope for. Using the original Tchaikovsky score, this version was choreographed in 2010.   One wonders how Petipa and Tchaikovsky would feel about The Dance of [...]

National Ballet of China: Preserving the Romance of Giselle (Chinese translation)

Unlike some contemporary Giselle being performed in the West, National Ballet of China’s version harks back to the delicacy and romance of the 1841 original. The choreography performed at Beijing’s NCPA last Friday was strikingly beautiful, wonderfully capturing the profound emotion of the piece. This performance resonated profoundly; National Ballet of China set the bar [...]

Snow Days

Last Friday, a first blanket of snow covered Beijing for a few hours. I was safely tucked away, out of the cold, in a classroom on the third floor, overlooking the university's playing fields. The more curious of the class peered out of the windows at the heavy dollops of snow coming down past the silvery trees [...]

Chinese Dentist Time

What time is it? It's Chinese Dentist Time!  When I was a kid, just as ten to ten became Cowboy Time (ten to ten to ten ten ten..., two thirty became tooth hurty - Chinese Dentist Time. It was years before I realised the racism of this joke. But it has nonetheless been circling my head for the [...]

Highs and lows: San Francisco Ballet’s ‘Caprice’ programme

On the second night of San Francisco Ballet’s second visit to Beijing, the American ballet company treated their Chinese audience to a varied programme in four parts. Tomasson’s own Caprice opened the event, followed by Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush and Hans van Manen’s Variations for Two Couples, finally closing the evening with George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations. [...]