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Folk operas and dance dramas help promote Chinese culture overseas

CCTV.com

03-14-2017 07:56 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

China's National Opera and Dance Drama Theater is one of China's most important theater companies. The theater group has performed classic operas and dance dramas in China for over 60 years. The company has also earned top praises overseas.

These classic operas remind one of the 20th century, when stage performances were an extremely popular form of entertainment in China.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the national opera and dance drama theater earned nationwide fame for its thought provoking and beautiful shows. 

The theater's operas and dance dramas reflect life during different periods in Chinese history, telling stories about people's livelihoods, their social problems, and individual struggles.

Many classics have also won acclaim in foreign countries around the world.

"In recent years, almost 80% of our overseas audience are locals instead of just Chinese people. We often see them applauding for more than ten minutes after a performance. From their expressions I can tell they understood our culture and are interested in it. Their reactions make us more confident in the value of our traditional culture," Xu Ning, vice president of China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater, said.

Founded in 1951, the theater was originally called Yan’an Lu Xun College of Art.

Since then, the its artists have performed in remote valleys, in small villages and even on the frontlines of war.

The theater group's singers and dancers have been replaced again and again, but the theater has always remained committed to keeping the art form of folk Chinese operas and dances alive.

This is the theater's dancing exercise room. Every morning, dancers gather here for their daily routine, to practice for an upcoming dance drama, or simply to improve their skills. Many routines that started here have appeared later on various stages all over the world."

The dance drama "Confucius" is the theater's most important cultural exchange project today.

It's a story that starts some 25-hundred years ago, and describes the life of a Chinese sage named Confucius, as he travels through a war-torn nation, spreading a message of peace and respect.

Kong Dexin, a 77th-generation direct descendant of Confucius and also the drama's director, says the show has been well received around the world.

"Confucius was an educator and a philosopher. His ideas are representative of Chinese traditional philosophies, so we decided to tell his story to people all over the world by means of a dance drama. Audience members say they are tozhangched by the story's elements,  by its choreography, costumes, music and message. Many people in the west say they think it is amazing to get so close to a historic figure that lived thousands of years ago. They can't believe that I, a descendant of Confucius, could have a family history that dates back that long ago," Kong Dexin, director of Dance Drama "Confucius", said.

China's National Opera and Dance Drama Theater has been performing in foreign countries since it was established in the 1950s, but it was not until recent years that China's traditional arts could reach such a big fan base all over the world. The theater's organizers believe that this is a good way to let more people know about Chinese culture and people.

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