Tag Archives: The butterfly lovers

Final Reflections: A Lovely Time

By: Jacob M Rominger

I decided to end my college career exploring what only the University of Illinois could provide: an experience exploring the culture and arts of the University’s feature facilities like the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Spurlock Museum. I lamented being cut short of the fun times I was having, but I am happy I got to take part. Dr. Collins and Dr. Robinson provided a course that broadened my horizons, taking me to performances I may not have otherwise. This stayed true into the pandemic as I was directed to online performances to compliment my education. My classmates were friendly and fun. My brief encounters with them are ones I treasure immensely and some of what I miss the most in this isolation we all suffer through today.

Original photo I took at the Shanghai Ballet

Impressive Shanghai Ballet Performance : The Butterfly Lovers

The Shanghai Ballet: The Butterfly Lovers was held at the Tryon Festival Theatre at the Kranner Art Center for the Performing Arts on January 29.

By Aejin Shin

waiting for the start of the performance with the booklet and ticket

Shanghai Ballet is one of the most famous ballet companies in the world organized in 1979. They present Chinese dance on the international stage. During their 40 years of history, they showed off many ballet productions. One of them is ‘The Butterfly Lovers’. This is true love story in which the main characters sacrifice themselves for each other.

The atmosphere was exciting, and people there were anticipating the performance

Since the ballet I’ve seen has mostly been Western-style ballet that is from Russia, this Shanghai ballet performance felt quite different from what I know. What was especially interesting was that the music and composition were completely different from Western ballet. Usually, in Russian-style ballet, the song with lyrics is rarely used. Instead, Western ballet uses classical music that is just instrumental. But the Shanghai ballet’s use of Chinese lyrics as background music was different. This gave the performance more like a play.

At the end of the ballet, all the characters come out to the stage and get applause from the audience

Also, the synopsis of the performance was impressive. I read the synopsis from the booklet they gave me before the performance started. Although the main characters did not make love in this life, it was interesting that they ended up being butterflies and making eternal love in other worlds. I thought this was similar to the story of Eros and Psyche in Greek and Roman mythology. But it would have been difficult to grasp the content without reading the synopsis because the dancers only expressed their emotions through languageless gestures. Details can be found on the website of Shanghai Ballet. (http://www.shanghaiballet.com/shblwt/n49/index.html)

The most eye-catching thing was the ballet costumes. The morning before the performance, I went to the Center and watched the process of preparing for the performance. At that time, I saw the costume making one by one, and it was very touching. That night, when I watched the Shanghai ballet, not only the main characters but also the supporting actors’ costumes, hair decorations, and every little prop was made up of many colors, and the glittering details caught my eye. It was like magic. Everything came together and I was so impressed by acting, composition, music, and the whole performance of the Shanghai ballet.

Becoming A Butterfly To Be With Your Soulmate

By Veronica Y. Gonzalez

The Shanghai Ballet Company is the state ballet company for Shanghai. They perform a blend of traditional and Western dance styles. The Shanghai Ballet presented The Butterfly Lovers on January 29, 2020 at The Krannert Center For Performing Arts. This is a story about two lovers that have to overcome obstacles to be together.

Visual of the butterfly costume
Event Ticket
Costumes we saw during our tour

I attended The Butterfly Lovers performed by the Shanghai Ballet Company. I had never gone to a ballet performance before so I was very excited entering the theater. This performance exceeded all my expectations so I am glad that this was my first ballet experience. My favorite element was the beautiful costumes. In the second image above you can see some pieces that the performers wore. In the top right corner you can vaguely see the green butterfly costumes. My favorite costume from this performance had to be the purple butterflies in the final act. The costumes were a vibrant shade of purple and covered in glitter. Purple is my favorite color and I love glitter so obviously these costumes caught my eye automatically.

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Forever Lovers are “The Butterfly Lovers”

Written by Lydia Amezcua Ramirez

The mesmerizing ballet, “The Butterfly Lovers ” brought about a unique form of story telling through dance. A brilliant performance taken place in the Tryon Festival Theater of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts on January 29, 2020.


A Delightful Start to the Ballet

The butterfly costumes introduced at the beginning of the ballet were my favorite because butterflies are my favorite insect. The butterfly costumes the ballerinas wore really caught my attention as they all scattered across the stage to show off their beautiful colors. As the lights went out and the curtain came up the performance began with a dance introducing the theme of the ballet.

Women dressed in butterfly costumes which captured the essence of the butterfly in all its grace and beauty. The dancers soon introduced the butterfly lovers Liang and Zhu along with the bully, Ma Wencai.

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The dilemma

Throughout the middle of the play, this issue seems to be the fact that Zhu is in love with Liang but he does not know because Zhu is dressed as a boy since back then girls were not able to have an education. This can be very noticeable in the ballet since all classmates in the first act were all boys. I was able to relate this to the movie Mulan when she ran away and dressed up as a boy soldier in place of her father only soon to fall in love with the general’s son. They too get close but he fails to recognize her true identity.

Act Three of the Ballet illustrated heartbreak along with reality. The heartbreak here being that Zhu could not be together with Liang given the situation she was put in by her father, an arranged marriage with Ma Wencai. Arranged marriages are the reality that many people had to go through in Chinese traditions along with other cultures.

By this part of the Ballet, the butterfly lovers have fallen in love with each other only to be torn apart by an arranged marriage. A truly saddening moment for two lovers, and a very realistic one as well, not being able to be together given financial differences. This part of the story could be noticeable as Zhu kept running back to her father, begging to not force her into the marriage. The movement of Zhou’s constant tugging at her father indicate that torment she felt at having to be forced into an arranged marriage.

As much as Zhu resists and fights her fathers decision she cannot seem to get out of the situation that she was forced into. Ma Wencai is thrilled by the arranged marriage, not bothered by the fact that Zhu does not want to marry him.

Liang could not have let go of his love without a fight and in that duel for that love he lost his life. The pain and suffering that comes along with losing a loved one affects people in different ways. The pain was too great for Zhu that she ended up taking her own life as well. A creative take on Romeo and Juliet in my opinion, turning to death in order to be with the one you love. For this reason, the fourth act had to be my favorite given the tragic yet heartfelt element it incorporated at the very end, lovers dying to be with each other in the afterlife.

Zhu and Liang reunited forever. In this afterlife Zhu and Liang transform into butterflies, hence the name “butterfly lovers”. They could not have a happy ending in real life so the afterlife brought them that. All is peaceful and happy for the butterfly lovers as everyone is dancing in colorful costumes to joyous music.

Overall, the ballet was a wonderful experience filled with humor, drama, love, death, and happiness. At the very end of the show the crowd clapped loudly for minutes as the performers took their bows. They even got standing ovations from people in the audience which proves that the ballet is a worthwhile event to take the time to watch with family, friends, or even oneself.

Ringing in the Chinese New Year with The Shanghai Ballet

On January 29, 2020 The Shanghai Ballet performed “The Butterfly Lovers” at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

The Shanghai Ballet performed in the Tryon Festival Theatre of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Written By Zackarya Faci

The Shanghai Ballet brought a beautiful blend of choreography and story-telling to the stage Wednesday night. Through a magnificent dance routine, they were able to tell the story of two star-crossed lovers without ever uttering a single word. The movements of each character played a crucial role in portraying their emotion at the time. From the slow, gentle movements in a solemn scene, to the sharp, jarring movements in a tense one, the audience was always left knowing the exact emotions being felt on stage.

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Shanghai Ballet the Butterfly Lovers: The new Romeo and Juliet with a Chinese butterfly twist.

I must admit that I am not one to voluntarily attend artistic events such as The Shanghai Ballet: The Butterfly Lovers. However, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was in the middle of a monarch butterfly sanctuary throughout the whole show. I did not have the slightest clue on what the show would entail besides ballerinas however, I was received with the story of two damned lovers, astonishing choreography, heavy Chinese culture, and an unforgettable experience that one must take the time to experience.

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Shanghai Ballet: Falling in Love with Butterflies

The Shanghai Ballet, “The Butterfly Lovers” in the Tryon Festival Theater of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts. Performed January 29, 2020.

Written by Jacob M. Rominger

On January 29, 2020, I was welcomed to a performance of The Butterfly Lovers by the Shanghai Ballet. As one not well-acquainted with ballet, I found myself enjoying fully the experience offered without hint of confusion. 


My seat and the very essential program including the plot of the performance.
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Butterfly Lovers—Amazing traditional Chinese love story— “Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet”

This wonderful ballet performance, The Butterfly Lovers, was performed by Shanghai Ballet in the Tryon Festival Theater on January 19, 2020. This is a traditional Chinese love story and touched tragedy. The main characters in this show, Liang and Zhu, did not get married at the end, but they became butterflies so that they can accompany each other forever.

Written by Bingchen Li


Ballet dancers use different movements to help audiences to understand what going on, so you will never hear a dialogue in a ballet show. In this wonderful performance, the most impressive movement used to exhibit emotion is when Zhu knew that her father had already arranged her marriage to Ma instead of her true love Liang, her body was really stiff. When Ma carried Zhu on his shoulders, Zhu had no movement just like a dead person. It is a vivid body language that audiences could feel her hopelessness. Also, in Act two, Farewell, audiences could see that all the animals live and play in pairs, and their movements are so energetic. With the description of vitality, audiences could feel the hits of the chemical reaction between those two youngsters.

Breathtaking background image
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A Chinese drama expressed through dance; “The Butterfly Lovers”

On January 29, 2020 “The Butterfly Lovers” was performed by the Shanghai Ballet in the Tryon Festival theater at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts

Written by Daniel Plata

“The Butterfly Lovers” is a romantic drama that takes place in ancient China, the entirety of the story is expressed entirely through the medium of ballet. Luckily the booklet given out for the performance had a summary of the story included within.

Booklet given with performance and theater in the background

In addition, before the performance a fellow student and Dr. Robinson had given our class a run down of the plot. Though even with some prior knowledge of the performance given beforehand I personally had some trouble deciphering certain events. Yet, somehow being tasked with figuring out the story myself actually made watching the performance even more enjoyable. I was left to my own devices to figure out what gestures of the body meant what and trying to interpret the body language on my own forced me to think more critically of the performance itself. Unfortunately I was unable to take any pictures of the performance itself because beforehand an announcer asked the audience to refrain from taking any photos or videos of the performance.

The theater hall where the performance took place

Many parts of the performance itself were easily understood and enjoyable for all, such as the part where the antagonist bullied the old scholar and where the antagonist and male protagonist fought for the female protagonist. Also, just the raw ballet portion of the performance was a spectacle to see. At some point one performer spun for a ridiculous span of time ushering a resounding applause from the audience. A lot of the maneuvers performed were pure feats of athleticism and very exciting to see.

End of performance after every when left the theater hall

Overall the experience was immensely enjoyable and I’d recommend anyone to go see it for themselves.

A beautiful and tragic love story performed by Shanghai Ballet – “The Butterfly Lovers”

On Jan 29th 2020, “The Butterfly Lovers” which is a famous Chinese love story was performed by Shanghai Ballet in Tryon Festival Theatre.

Written by Jiaxuan Meng

My ticket stub for the play

 “The Butterfly Lovers” is a Chinese tragic love story of a pair of lovers, Liang and Zhu, who fell in love with each other but forced to separate. Liang died for Zhu and Zhu died for love. In the end, both of them transformed into beautiful butterflies to live together in another world.

The Shanghai Ballet, which is one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies, brought this legend of the Chinese love story to the international stage. The group of brilliant dancers performed this great ballet show at the Krannert Center for Performing Arts on Jan 28 and 29, 2020 to celebrate Chinese New Year.  This play lets the world know better about the Chinese romantic love story from traditional Chinese culture and backgrounds.

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