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Shanghai Ballet
The Butterfly Lovers

November 1 & 2, 2013


For more than three decades, the Shanghai Ballet has been dazzling international audiences with its unique repertoire of folk-infused Chinese ballet and classical Western masterworks. For the company's Berkeley debut, audiences are treated to the "Romeo and Juliet" of Chinese folklore—a poignant love story that dates to the Tang Dynasty. The Butterfly Lovers follows a young couple's ill-fated romance through elegant choreography, splendid costumes, and evocative sets depicting the natural—and supernatural—worlds. These masterfully trained dancers convey the story's bittersweet beauty with expressive hand gestures and theatrical pantomime, evocative complements to their stunning classical technique.

Related Events

Discover, Engage: Education & Community Programs Education & Community Event: Symposium
Fri, Nov 1, 4-6 pm
Berkeley Art Museum Gund Theatre, 2626 Bancroft Way
Free and open to the public.
A symposium on The Butterfly Lovers, the Cultural Revolution and the arts in China. Presented in association with the Center for Chinese Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and the Berkeley Art Museum.

Professor Emily Wilcox of the University of Michigan and Professor Xiaomei Chen of UC Davis will discuss the Chinese Cultural Revolution in relation to the performing arts, examining the continued impact post-Mao Cultural Revolution aesthetics. They will also address the merging of Chinese and Western Cultural elements presented in The Butterfly Lovers—European ballet and orchestra, which in this case are being used to depict traditional Chinese folk melodies, dance and fairytale. The event includes a conversation with Xin Lili, Director of the Shanghai Ballet and creator and choreographer of The Butterfly Lovers, moderated by Professor Ling Hon Lam of UC Berkeley.

Beauty Revealed: Images of Women in Qing Dynasty Chinese Painting
Fri, Nov 1, 3 pm
UC Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way

Guided exhibition tour for The Butterfly Lovers Symposium attendees

Donor Event: Donor Intermission
Fri, Nov 1, 8pm
Sat, Nov 2, 8pm
Zellerbach Hall Mezzanine
(Donors of $1,500+)

During select performances throughout the season, Producer's Circle members are invited to join us for complimentary refreshments in our donor lounge, the Zellerbach Room, located on the north side of the Zellerbach Hall lobby. For especially popular events, find us on the Mezzanine at Zellerbach Hall. Donor Intermissions are the perfect place to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the company of other Producer's Circle members.

Membership benefits like these are our way of thanking our supporters for their much needed contributions. To find out how you can become a Donor, please call 510.643.8783 or visit our Support section.

UC Berkeley Art Museum
Beauty Revealed: Images of Women in Qing Dynasty Chinese Painting
Fri, Nov 1, 3 pm
2626 Bancroft Way
Guided exhibition tour for The Butterfly Lovers Symposium attendees.

Program Notes

Program notes are available online. [PDF]

Parking Alerts

Parking may be a problem on campus for the Sat, Nov 2 performance due to a Cal Football game. Please see our Parking Alert section for more information.


Xin Lili, Artistic Director of the Shanghai Ballet (Mandarin)

English Transript: Hello everyone, I am Lili Xin, the director of the Shanghai Ballet. I am happy to say that in about one month we will be going to America, bringing our classic Chinese ballet, The Butterfly Lovers, and I'm very glad that we have the chance to perform our very own Chinese ballet for everyone at the Berkeley theatre. The Butterfly Lovers is one of the classics of the Shanghai Ballet's repertoire, with four acts. I remember last time, in 2007, when we were touring in America, the American audiences loved the performance, and said how great the Butterfly Lovers ballet was. So what makes it so good? There are four things people commented on: the set design is especially beautiful, the costumes are beautiful, the music is lovely, and our dancers are also very beautiful. The Butterfly Lovers is China's own ballet, with a very Southern Chinese style. We look forward to coming to Berkeley, to giving Cal Performances' audiences the chance to enjoy our ballet, to enjoy our performance. And we're very excited to share an evening on stage with everyone in Berkeley.

Purchase Tickets

Fri, Nov 1, 8 pm
Sat, Nov 2, 8 pm