Ballet based on classic erotic novel finally staged in China

May 22, 2014 13:47
Some of the more sizzling scenes had to be tamed to secure the censors' approval. Photos: China News Service

Beijing Dance Theater’s “The Golden Lotus’’, a ballet interpretation of an erotic Chinese classical novel, is finally being staged on the mainland, three years after it garnered critical success during its debut at the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

The dance performance, also known as Jin Ping Mei, is based on a novel written during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) that was banned for centuries because of its explicit portrayal of sex. The novel, consisting of more than a thousand pages, is an acclaimed example of classic Chinese literature.

Because of its controversial content, mainland censors also banned the ballet version despite its huge success in Hong Kong.

Written and directed by Wang Yuanyuan, the ballet finally secured approval for public performances in the southwestern provinces this month. 

Wang, one of China's leading modern dance choreographers, had to tame some of the more sizzling and explicit scenes in order to pass muster.

Despite the changes, audiences were delighted when it went on stage in Chongqing, Nanchang and Changsha. Performances are also scheduled in Chengdu, Kunming, Liuzhou, Nanning later this month.

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