Ballet diplomacy: Political Agency in Ballet Adaptations of The White-Haired Girl – Australian Society for Asian Humanities Ballet diplomacy: Political Agency in Ballet Adaptations of The White-Haired Girl - Australian Society for Asian Humanities

Ballet diplomacy: Political Agency in Ballet Adaptations of The White-Haired Girl

Ballet diplomacy: Political Agency in Ballet Adaptations of The White-Haired Girl

This event is co-presented by The Australian Society for Asian Humanities, The China Studies Centre and the The Department of Chinese Studies at The University of Sydney, and the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at UNSW.

This talk examines the interaction between political agency and cultural events by using ballet adaptations from a 1945 Chinese revolutionary opera, The White-Haired Girl (白毛女 Bái Máo Nǚ ) as a case study. In China, The White-Haired Girl was adapted into a ballet in 1964 by Shanghai Dance School. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the ballet became one of the Eight Model Plays, which were supposed to be the only theatrical entertainment for the entire population of the country. The Chinese ballet troupe visited Japan in 1972 and met with Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. This facilitated the normalisation of bilateral relations between China and Japan, and was thus referred to as ballet diplomacy in China. Another less discussed, but equally significant, cultural event was The White-Haired Girl’s first ever ballet adaptation, choreographed by Masao Shimizu and his ballerina wife Mikiko Matsuyama in Tokyo in 1955. The Japanese ballet adaptation served as an effective means of unofficial diplomacy between China and Japan, prior to normalisation of relations between the two countries. Apart from the expected agents such as theatre practitioners, this talk also reveals the role of some extraordinary agents including Chinese Communist leaders such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and senior Japanese political figures and institutions.

About the speaker

Dr. Lintao Qi is lecturer of Translation Studies at Monash University. He is author of Jin Ping Mei English Translations: Texts, Paratexts, and Contexts (Routledge, 2018) and co-editor of A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation: English Publication and Reception (Routledge, 2020). His research and supervision interests are mainly in the intersection between translation and other sociocultural factors such as censorship, agency, cultural identity and cultural diplomacy. Lintao is a NAATI-certified translator, National Education Committee member of AUSIT (Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators), and Editor of The Aalitra Review.

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Date

Dec 09 2021

Time

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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