Matsuyama Ballet Company Visits the Affiliated School of Dance, Shanghai Theatre Academy


In 1964, the Matsuyama Ballet Company made its first visit to the Shanghai School of Dance (now the Affiliated School of Dance, Shanghai Theatre Academy). 

In March 2024, the company, led by General Representative Tetsutaro Shimizu and Chairman Yoko Morishita, returned to this beautiful campus with nearly a hundred members. Over the span of sixty years, the troupe has visited the dance school more than ten times.

The renowned Matsuyama Ballet Company, founded by Masao Shimizu and Yoko Matsuyama in January 1948, carries out its artistic activities with two main purposes: creatively performing classical ballet and pioneering new modern ballet. In 1955, the Matsuyama Ballet Company achieved great success by adapting the Chinese revolutionary film "The White-Haired Girl" into a ballet play of the same name, which greatly inspired and motivated Chinese ballet artists. Under the attention of Premier Zhou Enlai, the Shanghai School of Dance pooled the wisdom and strength of its staff and students to successfully adapt the ballet play "The White-Haired Girl" in 1964, which became a signature work of the school. In 1972, a Chinese delegation led by Sun Pinghua performed "The White-Haired Girl" in Japan, contributing to the normalization of diplomatic relations between China and Japan and writing a fine chapter of "ballet diplomacy."

(Japanese Version of Ballet Play "The White-Haired Girl" - Stage Photos)

(1972 “The White-Haired Girl” Production Team Visits Japan)

The visit of the Matsuyama Ballet Company on this occasion was warmly received by Wu Jie, Party Secretary and Principle of the school, Liu Aixiang, Deputy Party Secretary, Qiao Hui and Ning Zhi,Vice Presidents, among others. As early as 1995, President Wu Jie, then a ballet dancer, had collaborated with the Matsuyama Ballet Company. In the ballet "The Nutcracker," Yoko Morishita played the heroine Clara, while Wu Jie played the role of the Godfather, showing great rapport on stage. Almost 30 years later, they take on more responsibilities in cultivating new artistic talents for both countries. Ballet art belongs to all humanity, and artists and art educators from different nations should work together to inherit and develop this art form. Wu Jie stated that the dance school and the Matsuyama Ballet Company share a profound friendship, and he hopes that through mutual visits and exchanges, the younger generation will strengthen understanding and continue the friendship.

Teachers and students from both sides focused on ballet teaching and engaged in in-depth exchanges and friendly interactions.

Having walked together through sixty years, the friendship forged between the Affiliated School of Dance, Shanghai Theatre Academy, and the Matsuyama Ballet Company because of "The White-Haired Girl" will continue to connect the young artistic talents of both sides.