A particularly frustrating turn occurs in that art-industry that has received the most “soft” support: stage ensemble dance, ballet at the top, acrobatic spectacle at the botton. While in the FSU the Kirov and even the Moiseyev companies trundle on or even improve their offshore box office as of nothing had changed from the 1930s, the first generation productions that were such a source of pride have gradually disappeared from the global circuit. Ballet the most so. The dean of a dance department in a prominent state university, many times back and forth to the post-Deng China, couldn’t tell me anything about or even identify the name of Red Detachment of Women (1965), and could only relate, after a special performance in 2008, that she had heard a lot of ridicule was current about the “Red”. Her home institution has since invited the “New Tang” company – an unabashedly anti-PRC “white” circus of para-ballet – to stage its New Year’s spectacular (shen yun), its degraded style aside: no Mainland companies have been invited.
A degree of self-worrying insularity has been the outcome of these failures, from which only “international event” culture (the 2008 Olympics the most exemplary), embodied in controversial sports towers, and/or arm-chair marketed over TV) has offered any hope of putting things aright. But even there only with the revival of State subsidy, big time.
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