Ballet pulled off Shanghai Expo for Tibet dedication

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Dharamsala, August 31 – The British Council and English National Ballet have cancelled a planned performance of a new ballet because the composer dedicated the score to the people of Tibet, reported The Times Saturday.

The British Council said it deeply regretted the ballet had become a political vehicle and it was therefore “not appropriate” for it to go ahead. “The British Council is a nonpolitical organisation that runs a range of cultural relations programmes in China to build and strengthen longterm cultural, academic and economic ties between the two countries,” a statement by the counil said.

Pete Wyer, the British composer, has been a supporter of the Tibet movement against Chinese rule. Wyer, told The Times that the dedication was purely personal and was not endorsed by the British Council or intended to be a political statement.

It is not clear if pressure from China or its Embassy in Britain has led to the move to cancel the performance.

Wyer has earlier composed an opera about a Tibetan nun imprisoned for expressing her support and loyalty for the exile Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, whom Beijing reviles as a “separatist” seeking to split the motherland. A choral work called “Tibetan Sanctus” composed by Wyer will be performed in Washington next year.

The ballet titled ‘The Far Shore’ was a part of a series of cultural programmes to mark Britain’s “national holiday” at the Shanghai Expo on September 8. The ballet was to be performed by six British and six Chinese dancers in the presence of Duke of York, Brtish Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese Premiere Wen Jiabao.

Choreographed by Van Le Ngoc, a Vietnamese dancer with ENB, the ballet is based on Swan Lake. Wyer said his score was “intended to reflect the joyousness of a happy ending as love triumphs over all”. The score for ‘The Far Shore’ was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra at Angel Studios.

More than 190 countries are participating in the Shanghai Expo which began on May 1 and will go until October 31.