Guangzhou Ballet's Mei Lanfang Sha Tin Town Hall Continues tonight. Mixed programme tomorrow at Yuen Long Theatre For its inaugural tour to Hong Kong, the Guangzhou Ballet, founded only in 1994 and directed by Zhang Dandan, last night presented a full-length ballet, Mei Lanfang, based on the life of the legendary Peking Opera artist. The ballet narrates the blossoming of Mei's artistry until his temporary retreat from the stage when he refused to perform for the Japanese troops during the war, followed by his career's second flourish until his death in 1961. There is no better introduction to the Guangzhou Ballet than this well-crafted Chinese-themed ballet, the most outstanding programme seen in Hong Kong in the second half of this year. The choreography, mostly by Fu Xingbang, is an excellent blend of classical ballet vocabulary, Peking Opera steps, and even martial arts. The drama, neatly divided into three acts, starts with Mei Lanfang reminiscing about his four greatest female roles in Peking Opera, danced by four different women. Mei was superbly danced throughout the evening by Chao Lemeng, an expressive lyrical dancer with a pleasing line and graceful arm movements. The second scene switched to a western setting with a spectacular ball in the US in honour of Mei who was awarded an honorary doctorate. The ensemble scene was well danced by the company. The second act saw Mei, having grown a moustache, giving up the stage after the Japanese invasion. There is an expressive dream scene displaying the women in the corps de ballet who are impressive in their uniformity. The last act was another visual spectacle. The class for the students trained by Mei was a vibrant display, followed by a Peking Opera number. And there was an evocative apotheosis symbolising the continuity of Mei's artistry after his death. In this climactic scene there is a beautifully choreographed classical divertissement for the female corps de ballet attired in red. The Guangzhou dancers were wholly ravishing in their classical purity. Praise is also due to the composer Liu Tingyu, whose musical score is an excellent blend of Chinese and western music and most conducive to the dancing. This splendid production is a triumph for the Guangzhou Ballet.