A unique performance
Dance in China is a highly varied art form, consisting of many modern and traditional dance genres. The dances cover a wide range, from folk dances to performances in opera and ballet, and may be used in public celebrations, rituals and ceremonies. There are also 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China, and each ethnic minority group in China also has its own folk dances. The best known Chinese dances today are the Dragon dance and the Lion Dance.
The first ballet school in China, Beijing Dance School, was established in 1954 with Dai Ailianas the principal and staffed by some outstanding Russian teachers, including Pyotr Gusev who instituted the Russian training system. In the following years ballets such as Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet were performed. The National Ballet of China was founded on the last day of 1959 as the Experimental Ballet Company of the Beijing Dance School. During the Cultural Revolution under the control of Madame Mao, Revolutionary Model dramas came to the fore, and the repertory was eventually reduced to two ideological ballets – The Red Detachment of Women and The White Haired Girl. After the fall of the Gang of Four, the ballet company began to reform and change direction with the classical Western ballets resurrected, and also broadened its range to include more modern ballets from around the world.