Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Royal New Zealand Ballet Canceled Tour in Tianjin

Visiting Royal New Zealand Ballet cancelled its performance of Giselle in Tianjin schedule in April 20-21 because of insufficient heating in cold temperature.

According to RNZB, the room temperature was 10 celsius at the rehearsal.

According to Beijing based Propel, the operator of Tianjin Grand Theater, the room temperature was 18.1 celsius at the rehearsal (confirmed by New Zealand media), and that they expect to raise it to 20 celsius for the actual performing.

The RNZB demands the room temperature to be raised to at least 23 celsius for safety of dancers, and canceled the show a couple of hours before it started when it was obvious the stage would not be warm enough. Angered host in Tianjin responded with a lock out of stage sets and costumes, until a satisfactory amount of ransomsettlement was reached after negotiating with New Zealand's Embassy in Beijing directly. Propel emphasized that the 23 celsius requirement was nowhere to be found in the written contract.

On Weibo, Propel explained the exterior glass facades did not provide any thermal insulation. Furthermore, the entire so called 'cultural center', which includes several centers and museums, do not have independent heating. As an emergency measure, they rented dozens of industrial strength heavy duty heating fans and warmed up the theater for days, in vain.

It is a slap in the face on China's Giant Leap Forward Movement, echoing an ambition to gain recognition of its commanding economic power. The Tianjin Grand Theater costs $300 million, and was viewed as the pride of Chinese modernization, second only to the National Grand Theater in Beijing.

Tianjin Grand Theater is designed by Hamburg based Gerkan, Marg und Partner. China has made itself a gallery of innovative while untested designs.

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