Clement Egerton

Why won't the Royal NZ Ballet do something like this?

The Royal NZ ballet should do something like this, often.

One of China’s most famous ballet directors is testing the very limits of the country’s strait-laced attitudes by adapting a notoriously pornographic book for the stage.

The Jin Ping Mei, or ‘The Plum in the Golden Vase,’ is a classic of Chinese literature from the Ming dynasty that has been banned ever since the 17th century because of its explicit sexual content.

Its first English translator, Clement Egerton, found himself so embarrassed by the 70 or so sex scenes in the book, which run the full gamut of perversion, that he rendered them in Latin.

However, a dance production of the book premiered on Friday to a sell-out crowd in Hong Kong, after Wang Yuanyuan took on the work.

Mrs Wang is a former principal ballerina at the National Ballet of China, and choreographed both the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games and a dance performance at the celebrations to mark the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. She is known as one of the “three queens” of Chinese dance.

However, Mrs Wang admitted that there was little chance of staging her production of the Jin Ping Mei on the Chinese mainland. Instead, she said her work as director of the Beijing Dance Theatre was squarely aimed at foreigners.

It would appeal to the average tax payer not just the liberal elite wankers who usually go to the ballet and sit in heavily taxpayer subsidised seats. With shows like that they would get the important blue collar Kiwi bloke along for a bit of “culture”.