Hong Kong Ballet is to introduce more Chinese elements into its performances - starting with a production next spring that fuses the fairytale of the Frog Prince with the Qing dynasty legend of Zhenfei, an ill-fated concubine who drowns in a well.
Madeleine Onne, the troupe's artistic director, said the "ballet Chinois" production was the company's effort "to do something with a Hong Kong touch".
Yuri Ng Yue-lit, who will be choreographing The Frog Prince - A Ballet Chinois, said: "We want a production that is uniquely characteristic to the Hong Kong Ballet. I hope to give a Western fairytale Chinese packaging."
He says it is the first time a local will be choreographing a production with Chinese elements. The East-meets-West production will run place from April 19 to 21 at the Cultural Centre. Li Jia-bo, Hong Kong Ballet's newly promoted male soloist, says the company is seeking to "broaden its repertoire" with Chinese-inspired productions, but will still maintain its standard with classical productions such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.
Ng explained that productions with Chinese influences would enable Hong Kong-based dancers to interpret cultural nuances more expertly and help them dance more evocatively.
"A lot of ballet productions are to do with royalty, and there is always a shortcoming when our dancers - many of whom are Asian - perform in productions set in Europe, because they are not immersed in the culture and graces of Europeans compared to dancers who work there.
"What we should do instead is take advantage of the unique culture and talent we have right here in Hong Kong."
The 33-year-old ballet troupe's new season begins at the Cultural Centre next Friday with Cinderella.
Rebecca Ip, executive director of the company, said box office takings in the 2011-2012 season were HK$10 million - a 10 per cent year-on-year increase.