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Guangzhou Ballet tells the story of Mei Lanfang Dec. 19-20

The full-length ballet "Mei Lanfang", performed by Guangzhou Ballet, is a journey through the life and art of a legendary Peking Opera performer.

"Mei Lanfang" will be staged on December 19 and 20 (Friday and Saturday) at 8pm at the Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall.

The ballet follows the arc of Mei's career, from the blossoming of his talent to his painful retreat from the stage when he refused to perform for the invaders during the Japanese occupation of China, to the even greater heights that he scaled after his return to the theatre before his death in 1961.

"Mei Lanfang" does full justice to Mei's artistic passion and the subtle ways in which he captured the beauty of the female characters he played.

Audiences will have another opportunity to appreciate the brilliant versatility and complete technical mastery of Guangzhou Ballet at 3pm on December 21 (Sunday) at the Auditorium, Yuen Long Theatre, when the company presents "Classical Ballet Masterpieces".

On the programme are excerpts from masterpieces like "Swan Lake", "Sleeping Beauty", "Paquita", "La Bayadere" and "Grand Pas Classique".

Guangzhou Ballet has won numerous awards in China and abroad. Its repertoire embraces both the Western classics and original ballets on Chinese themes. The company has toured the United States, France, Japan and Singapore, winning critical acclaim along the way.

Its artistic director, Zhang Dandan, is a former principal in the Central Ballet of China (now the National Ballet of China) and a National Class One Performer.

On December 5 at 8pm, Ms Zhang will host a talk in Putonghua on "The Creation and Characteristics of the Ballet Mei Lanfang". It takes place in Rehearsal Room CR2, 7/F, Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Admission is free on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Tickets for Guongzhou Ballet's three performances, priced from $80 to $200, are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients, while Friends of LCSD performing venues receive a 10% discount.

For ticketing enquiries and reservations, call 2734 9009; for programme enquiries, call 2268 7323; for credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999; for Internet bookings, visit . For more programme details, visit .

Ends/Wednesday, November 19, 2003
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