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21 September 2016

Based on a true story from China's revolutionary past, China's acclaimed opera ballet The Red Detachment of Women will be performed by the National Ballet of China in its Australian debut at Arts Centre Melbourne, in February 2017.

The Red Detachment of Women, National Ballet of China

Image courtesy Arts Centre Melbourne and the National Ballet of China

In Beijing, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the coup for Victoria's cultural calendar as part of the new Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA) which will feature the top contemporary performing, visual, screen and literary arts from across Asia in 2017.

One of the great ballet companies of the world, the National Ballet of China will give four performances of this legendary piece of classic "red heritage culture" presented by Arts Centre Melbourne in collaboration with Orchestra Victoria and in association with The Australian Ballet.

Now more than fifty years old, The Red Detachment of Women first premiered in 1964 and is best known in the West as the ballet performed for US President Richard Nixon on his visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972. It was also brought to life on the big screen in Mao's Last Dancer - a film about the life of ballet dancer, Li Cunxin.

The National Ballet of China's invitation by Arts Centre Melbourne to visit Melbourne was facilitated through the Victoria China Cultural Exchange Partnership Agreement, and supported by China's Ministry of Culture.

Asia TOPA, to be launched at Arts Centre Melbourne on 26 September, is a new landmark festival-style celebration of Asian culture and performance, to be held in Melbourne from January to April 2017. 

Chinese artists featuring in Asia TOPA include an installation at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art by artist Hi An, a new play directed by Chong Wang about China's One-Child policy commissioned by the Malthouse Theatre with support from Arts Centre Melbourne, and work by China's leading contemporary choreographer Tao Ye.

The Australian debut of The Red Detachment of Women was made possible through the Victoria China Cultural Exchange Partnership, which recognises the importance of deeper cultural understanding and appreciation through the Arts.

Read more about Asia TOPA