Report from the Tour: Shanghai


After the 13-hour flight from San Francisco, the dancers and company arrived safe and sound in Shanghai. All in all, it was a pretty uneventful travel day, but then again, moving 100 people half-way around the world is an event in and of itself.

By the time we arrived at the hotel in Shanghai and got everyone settled into their rooms, it was close to 10pm local time on Friday evening (7am Friday morning in SF). By then, I think the dancers were super-excited to have some food and a good night’s sleep!

Our first full day in Shanghai was Saturday. The weather was sunny and warm and after a wonderful breakfast, the dancers piled into buses and headed to Company Class. It was a very special Company Class, as it was hosted by the Shanghai Dance Schoolthe same school that our principal dancer and Shanghainative Yuan Yuan Tan studied at when she was a young ballerina. As it was Saturday, the school was filled with many young dancers training in studios on several floors. When it was time for our SF Ballet class to begin, our studio was packed with young dancers from the Shanghai Dance School, all eager to watch and to learn from our company.

While the dancers were taking class, I spent several hours double-checking our daily logistical plan and going over final preparations for the big activity that night. At 5:15pm Saturday evening, the Company gathered in front of the hotel and boarded buses bound for the United States Consulate in Shanghai.

Here I am with dancer Daniel Deivison-Oliveira and Andrew D. Lebkuecher, the vice consul general at the US Consulate in Shanghai (Photo © Erik Tomasson)

Here I am with dancer Daniel Deivison-Oliveira and Andrew D. Lebkuecher, the vice consul general at the US Consulate in Shanghai (© Erik Tomasson)

U.S. Consul General Beatrice Camp hosted a reception in honor of San Francisco Ballet on the Consulate lawn. The beautiful weather that we enjoyed in the morning stayed with us for the Consulate reception and, under a large tent on the Consulate lawn, dozens of representatives of Shanghai’s cultural community gathered together with our dancers and staff to celebrate SFB’s arrival in the People’s Republic of China, and the beginning of our tour. In his address to the Consul General and invited guests, Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson said “The arts have always served as an important vehicle for cultural exchange. They provide a unique perspective on the thoughts, values, and aspirations of a society. San Francisco Ballet hopes that our tour will help foster better understanding among the People’s Republic of China, the United States of America, and the many countries represented by the dancers of San Francisco Ballet.”

Me with Jessie Qian of Star Group Entertainment, Ltd. (© Erik Tomasson)

Me with Jessie Qian of Star Group Entertainment Co., Ltd. (© Erik Tomasson)

Our first 24 hours in Shanghai could not have been better!

I hope you’ll stay tuned for the next report from the Tour.

Ciao, Robert

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One Comment

  1. avatar JZ Frances FU
    Posted September 22, 2009 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Yes, the sky is extraordinarily crystal these days which is not usual here. I think these days you must have been getting used to the hustle and busle of the city. Your visit is a big topic on the town, thanks to the media. I have bought tickt of 23th night a month ago. Exciting…by 7pm today, Sep.22nd, I stop by the Grand Theater on my way home(my office is just a stone’s away from the theater) I see many youngsters/students hanging around to see anybody can transfer the ticket to them. I believe they are really interested in ballet as such mixed program demonstrates the latest development and power of a company. But to be frank, the PR work on the first night is far more than enough, I;m afraid. I myself have extended the neck long enough to learn what you will dance on 22th. But no info till early Sep. when I have already invested myself for the debut of Swan Lake. Anyway, I cann’t help watching your new productino of Swan Lake!

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