Liu Qingtang


Liu Qingtang

Liu Qingtang (1932- )(Chinese: 刘庆棠; pinyin: Líu Qìngtáng) is a Chinese ballet dancer born in Gai County, Liaoning Province, who made a fame through his role as Hong Changqing in the ballet Red Detachment of Women of the National Ballet of China, one of the eight model plays during the Cultural Revolution. Xue Jinghua was cast as Wu Qinghua in the same ballet.

Liu joined the art troupe of the People's Liberation Army in late 1940s, and after the foundation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he studied ethnic dances and ballet in Beijing as well as the Soviet Union.

In 1958, Liu Qingtang became well-known in the ballet circuit in China for his successful rendition of the prince Ziegfried in Swan Lake.

In 1964, Liu was cast as Hong Changqing in Red Detachment of Women. This was a task of more politics than of art, as this work was under the auspices and supervision of Jiang Qing, wife of Mao Zedong.

The film version of the ballet was released in 1971, and Liu Qingtang became a household name overnight.

His prominent quality as a ballet dancer and his political savvy enabled him to make leaps and bounds in his political career as well. In February, 1976, Liu was nominated by Jiang Qing and Zhang Chunqiao for the vice minister of the Ministry of Culture.

After the downfall of the Gang of Four in October, 1976, Lin Qingtang fell into disfavor. In 1983, he was sentenced to 17 years of prison time, and stripped of all political rights for 4 years.

In 1985, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, and was released on bail for medical treatment. At this time, Liu had been divorced, and had no place to go. His brother in his hometown took him back.

In the early part of the 21st century, Liu Qingtang returned to Beijing and opened a ballet school there.


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