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Ballet: The White Haired Girl


Premiered in 1965,The White Haired Girlis a significant Chinese ballet, created by Hu Rongrong (1929- ), Fu Aidi (1936- ), Cheng Daihui (1932- ) and Lin Yangyang (1939- ).

The White Haired Girlwas adapted from the opera of the same title. The story was about Xi'er, the daughter of a poor farmer. To pay the debt of the family, she was sold to the despotic landlord Huang Shiren. After suffering enough she fled into the deep mountain. Living for many years in the mountain without adequate food, Xi'er's hair turned white and she became known as the White Haired Goddess by those who didn't know the truth. Fortunately, Xi'er was rescued by the Eighth Route Army at last and was fortunate enough to be reunited with her lover Da Chun, who had become a soldier of the Eighth Route Army.

The operaWhite Haired Girlmoved millions of Chinese to tears with this true story that castigated the old society, which turned humans into ghosts and celebrated the liberated society that turned the ghosts back into humans.

In adapting the opera into a ballet, much emphasis was put on creating something new rather than simply sticking to the settings of the original work. The elements of Chinese classical folk dances were wisely employed to create a new ballet, and each development in the story was unfolded by a perfect combination of realism and romanticism. Each character on the stage impressed the audience with its uniqueness: the innocent, sweet Xi'er and the tough, persistentWhite Haired Girl; the honest and sincere Da Chun and his valor and competence after joining the army; as well as the sinister landlord Huang Shiren.

China began to create its own ballets in 1964.The White Haired Girlwas listed as one of the Dance Classics of the Chinese Nation in the 20th Century.It and another Chinese ballet,The Red Company of Women, were regarded as milestones in the development of Chinese ballet. They represent the idea of "making foreign things serve China". The two ballets have become important components of the world's ballet collection with their distinctive Chinese characteristics. The collective wisdom of Chinese ballet professionals made up for their lack of experience and helped speed up the development of Chinese ballet and elevate the work to a higher level.

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