Hong Kong’s star ballerina to perform in Macau

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Issue 926, Page 4
Word count: 573
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Faye Leung, a former principal dancer of the Hong Kong Ballet, has been invited to star at City of Dreams’ aquatic-themed show to be opened in the first half of this year.

Now a freelance artist, Leung is acclaimed as one of the top ballerinas in Hong Kong.

Born in Shanghai and having trained at the Shanghai Ballet School, she got her first prize and a special award at the Shanghai International Ballet Competition (Teenage Group) in 1995.

She joined the Hong Kong Ballet in 1996 and became the Principal Dancer in 2001.

However, about a year ago she was unexpectedly sacked by the dance company with immediate effect after 13 years of service, which at that time aroused quite a lot of discussions and suspicions as the troupe did not give her a clear explanation about its decision.

Nevertheless, the ballerina has danced in the title roles of many classics such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle and The Merry Widow.

Among other nominations and awards, Leung won the Hong Kong Dance Award by the Hong Kong Dance Alliance for her role as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet.

She was also invited to perform in various festivals worldwide, including the Gala des Etoiles de XXle Siecle (Star of the 21st Century) at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris in 2006, the Charity Gala “Dancing for AIDS Orphans” in Japan’s Yokohama in 2007, as well as the Prague Ballet Gala in Czech Republic in 2008.

According to the recent interview with the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the ballet dancer revealed that her next move is to perform in “The House of Dancing Water”, a new water-based permanent show uniquely created by Franco Dragone Entertainment for City of Dreams (COD).

Leung said that she was approached by Maggi Sietsma, the show’s artistic director who also used to be the dean of dance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

She said that at first she was worried about whether it would be a “casino show”, but eventually she accepted the invitation after meeting with the show’s choreographer Giuliano Peparini, who has worked with renowned names such as French choreographer Roland Petit and Mariinsky Ballet from Russia, the SCMP reported.

Since it’s a aquatic-themed production, Leung told the Hong Kong newspaper that starting February she will receive a two-month training at Dragone’s headquarters in Belgium, where she will learn how to swim, dive, dance, act and fly.

“The House of Dancing Water”, which is said to be the world’s largest water show, will be performed at the purpose-built, 2,000-seat Theatre of Dreams designed by Pei Partnership and located next to the Grand Hyatt tower at the COD site.

The production was personally directed by Franco Dragone Entertainment’s founder, Franco Dragone, who drew inspiration from Chinese culture into the storyline.

About 70 to 80 acrobats, contortionists, dancers, motorcycle stuntmen, musicians and specialist strap artists from around the world have been selected to perform on stage.

Meanwhile, construction of the theatre is in “good progress” and while the exterior part has already been completed, interior renovation work is currently being carried out, a company spokesman told the MDTimes.

According to a press release, the Theatre of Dreams houses a commercial pool which has a capacity of around 3.7 million gallons, or equivalent to more than five Olympic-sized swimming pools, making it one of the largest water-based theatres in the world.

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