National Ballet of China Leo Delibes' Sylvia Hong Kong Cultural Centre Final performance last night China's National Ballet, celebrating its 45th anniversary as well as the Year of France in China festival, brought the French classic Sylvia to Hong Kong with a standout performance. The simple story is about the shepherd Aminta falling in love with the beautiful nymph, Sylvia. The lead female role was danced by Zhu Yan, a truly exquisite ballerina. Long-limbed, fine-boned and blessed with a beautiful line, Zhu has a pure temperament ideal for the title role of Sylvia. She sparkled in her solos and in the last act's duet, her long limbs cut wonderful shapes in space. It was a gorgeous performance. As the story progresses, Sylvia is captured by the hunter Orion. Aminta tries in vain to rescue Sylvia who pleads to the goddess Diane to save Aminta, who then returns to the human world with Sylvia. Li Jun danced nobly as the shepherd Aminta, and was dazzling in his solo in act three. Sun Jie was a menacing Orion, and Hao Bin was technically impressive as Eros. Another glory of the National Ballet is its harmonious female corps de ballet which ranks as one of the finest in the world. In the ensemble sections, the women are a perfect vision of beauty and harmony. Delibes' enchanting score was sumptuously performed by the National Ballet's Symphony Orchestra conducted by Zhang Yi. Financial Times critic Clement Crisp said last year that the future of ballet may lie in China in this century. Judging from this opening night, he might be right. The National Ballet's second Hong Kong programme - this weekend - an all-Balanchine lineup celebrating the choreographer's centenary, is not to be missed.