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Japanís warm welcome for British swans
English National Balletís first visit to Japan in 30 years has been deemed a huge success, with a series of sell-out performances in three major cities.

The company toured to Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, from April 21 - 30 with their acclaimed production of Derek Deaneís Swan Lake, attracting full houses, media attention and devoted fans on their journey.

The tour was organised by local promoter Michael Chung, and made possible with sponsorship from the Tokyo Broadcasting System and All Nippon Airways.

The last time English National Ballet performed in Japan was in 1969 in its previous incarnation as London Festival Ballet.

Japanese ballet stars Tetsuya ĎTeddyí Kumakawa and Erina Takahashi, who danced the principal roles of Prince Siegfried and Odette/Odile, created a lot of interest in the tour. Guest dancer Kumakawa is famous in the UK for his defection from the Royal Ballet in 1998 to form his own company K-Ballet, and holds rock star status in Japan.

Erina Takahashi, born in Hokkaido, and recently promoted to English National Balletís Principal ranks, was performing for the first time as a professional dancer in her homeland.

The Japanese audiences were the first outside of the UK to see English National Balletís newest production of Swan Lake by Derek Deane, premiered in Autumn 2000.

Wed May 9 2001 (4:02:18 PM)