Report from the Tour: Beijing

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Greetings from the Tour! It’s been a very busy week for all of us. Since last I wrote, San Francisco Ballet danced 4 triumphant shows at the Shanghai Grand Theatre: one mixed-repertory program and three performances of Swan Lake. Our dancers kept up the fast pace with technical and dress rehearsals and different casts of Swan Lake – everything moving at lightning speed. However, our dancers were not the only ones moving at lightning speed. In Shanghai, the theater was across the street from the hotel, and crossing the street to get to work was an adventure each day. The traffic in Shanghai is something that is hard to imagine – cars and bicycles whizzing by fast and furiously – coming at us from multiple directions!

An aerial view of traffic in Shanghai.

An aerial view of traffic in Shanghai.

On Sunday the Company and Crew boarded two separate Air China flights from Shanghai for the two and a half hour flight up north to Beijing. From the moment we arrived in the capital city and drove to the hotel, we could tell we were in the middle of an extraordinary moment in time: the preparations for the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of the founding of the People’s Republic of China were in full-swing. Red and yellow banners were posted all along the highway flanked by red and yellow flowers lining the roads. On the television news this morning it was announced that for the anniversary celebrations there are a million volunteers in the streets helping to keep things flowing smoothly, and there are more military personnel here in the city now than there were for the Olympics.

Last night we were all treated to a lovely Welcome Reception at the St. Regis Hotel hosted by our tour sponsors. The party was fantastic, with delicious food and drinks and live music, and there was a large ice sculpture of the Golden Gate Bridge! Awesome!

Much of the city is closed now as roads and subways are blocked off for the big day tomorrow – the October 1st anniversary celebrations. Luckily for us, our hotel is across the street from the Poly Theater so we don’t have to worry about not getting to tomorrow’s dress rehearsal of our mixed repertory program.

Tomorrow is the big day: The 60th anniversary celebration of the founding of the People’s Republic of China–and the Opening Night of San Francisco Ballet in Beijing!

Ciao, Robert

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