xi's moments
Home | Music & Theater

Increasing number of young people savor beauty of dance dramas

China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-29 10:44

The dance drama Crested Ibises visualizes the natural movements of the species that was thought to be extinct in China, in the Shaanxi Opera House in Xi'an in May last year.[Photo/Xinhua]

XI'AN — For Lyu Hang, an avid fan of theater performances, attending as many as 10 dance dramas with diverse themes during the past year satisfied her both emotionally and spiritually.

"These dramas not only captivate the audience but also introduce innovative ways of blending cultures and arts across time and space for laypeople like me," says the 32-year-old theater enthusiast who is a frequent visitor to the Shaanxi Opera House in the city of Xi'an in Northwest China.

Chinese dance dramas have garnered high acclaim from youngsters for their diverse themes, spanning human relations with nature, iconic literati and historical novels, and artistic practices from both the East and the West.

According to a report from the China Association of Performing Arts, people aged 18 to 34 were the predominant segment of the consumer base in the performing arts market in 2022, accounting for over 76 percent of the audience.

For instance, the dance drama Crested Ibises, named after the bird species with a red crest and long black beak, tells the story of how people strive to maintain a harmonious coexistence with nature during the processes of urbanization and industrialization.

The crested ibis was thought to be extinct in China until seven wild birds were spotted in Yangxian county in Shaanxi in 1981. After more than 40 years of protection efforts, its global population now exceeds 10,000.

The drama visualizes the natural movements of the species and demonstrates the common environmental crises faced by the whole world through vivid stagecraft.

"The exquisite combination of Chinese folk dance and Western ballet makes it a true masterpiece," says Dai Ping, a professor at the Shanghai Theater Academy.

According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, in the first three quarters of 2023, about 342,000 commercial performances were staged in China, which attracted over 110 million viewers, up 121 percent and 188.5 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2019.

Lyu says that the most impressive drama she saw in 2023 was Poetic Dance: Dongpo, which she believes is a good example of cultural fusion. The performance depicts the life of Su Shi, a poet and cultural icon from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), through 15 of his most recognized poems.

"I once asked my French friends their impressions of the drama. They told me that they could sense the characters' emotions and thoughts conveyed through body movements, even without translation," says Shen Wei, who directed the poetic dance.

In recent years, several Chinese dance dramas, including Confucius and Mulan, hit international stages in the United States, Mexico and many other countries.

"Art has no boundaries. I hope that audiences from different cultural backgrounds can feel the shared pursuit of human beings through dance dramas," Shen says.



Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349