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Dai Ailian

(1916—2006)


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(b Trinidad, 10 May 1916; d Beijing, 9 Feb. 2006)

Chinese dancer, choreographer, director, and pioneer in the development of ballet in China. She trained locally and in 1931 moved to London where she studied ballet with Dolin, Craske, and others, also modern dance with Borrows-Goossens and with Laban and Jooss at Dartington. She returned to China in 1940 where she studied indigenous dance forms and taught modern dance as well as performing in various solo and group recitals. A committed popularizer of dance, she was appointed director of the Central Song and Dance Ensemble (1949–54) after which she was principal of the Beijing Ballet Academy (1956–64), director of the Central Ballet (1963–4), and vice-director of the Central Opera and Ballet Theatre (1964–6). During the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) she was marginalized but in 1978 was reinstated as artistic adviser of the Central Ballet. In 1989 she founded the London-based Chinese Dance and Mime Theatre Company, choreographing new works in both London and China and continuing her research into local Chinese dance forms.

Subjects: Dance.


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