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The fights were choreographed by martial arts expert Hing Chao, one of the world's most respected authorities on southern-style Chinese martial arts. According to Chao, the fight scenes featured elements of three classic southern kung fu styles, hung kuen, Fujian white crane and wing chun, which would have been common in 1960s Hong Kong.
This presented quite a challenge to the choreography, said Chao, since the southern styles tend to feature performers being solidly planted on the ground to generate power while ballet is made up of light movements and frequently involves being off the ground.