Per­for­mances strike a chord with ex­cited crowds in Alexan­dria

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE -

The Xin­jiang Uygur autonomous re­gion, which rep­re­sented China as the guest of honor at the 15 th In­ter­na­tional Sum­mer Fes­ti­val held from July 10 to Au­gust 26 at Egypt’s sea­side his­tor­i­cal city of Alexan­dria, thrilled view­ers with its per­for­mances on Mon­day.

The shows by dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups from Xin­jiang, with their col­or­ful tra­di­tional outfits and mu­sic im­pressed the view­ers at the Bi­b­lio­theca Alexan­dria, one of the largest venues for cultural and artis­tic ac­tiv­i­ties in the Mid­dle East.

“The shows were re­ally beau­ti­ful. It is the first time that I am see­ing such beau­ti­ful per­for­mances. We hope more such ac­tiv­i­ties are held in Egypt,” says Amal Ali, an em­ployee in her early 50s.

The per­for­mances in­cluded Uygur, Ta­jik, Kir­giz, Kazak, Mon­go­lian and Han group dances, in a style re­ferred to as “DanSing­ing in the Air” for combining both danc­ing and singing, in ad­di­tion to male and fe­male solo singing.

Be­sides the group danc­ing and singing, the ac­ro­batic per­for­mances were also ap­pre­ci­ated.

Speak­ing about the per­for­mances, Ashraqat Hamdy, a ju­nior col­lege stu­dent at Alexan­dria Univer­sity says: “I re­ally en­joyed the shows. Such events bring the peo­ples of Egypt and China closer and will en­cour­age Egyp­tians to start learn­ing Chi­nese and make Chi­nese friends.”

Ahmed Mostafa, a sound engi­neer, pho­tog­ra­pher and tango dancer, who at­tended the event, says the per­for­mances were in­spir­ing for the Egyp­tian dancers, mu­si­cians and artists who were there.

“I felt the mu­sic was sim­i­lar to ours. The singing was also close to ours and they played an Egyp­tian song beau­ti­fully. The ac­ro­batic shows were stun­ning too,” he adds.

Many in the au­di­ence said that they felt that the per­for­mances, the mu­si­cal in­stru­ments ex­hi­bi­tion and the photo gallery took them to China and made them cu­ri­ous to learn more about the coun­try.

Mo­rad Ab­bas, head of the Ara­bic depart­ment of the Fac­ulty of Arts at Alexan­dria Univer­sity, says: “The shows re­flected the va­ri­ety of Chi­nese cul­ture. In ad­di­tion, they even per­formed some Egyp­tian songs, which en­riched the fes­ti­val and made us feel that hu­man civ­i­liza­tion is one.”

Xin­jiang, which is home to 23 mil­lion peo­ple, is China’s largest autonomous re­gion, oc­cu­py­ing about one sixth of the to­tal area of China and com­prises 47 eth­nic groups.

One of the most pop­u­lar per­for­mances was the “flow­ery belt” Uygur dance that por­trays young men try­ing to ex­press their feel­ings to pretty girls.

Speak­ing about the crowd re­ac­tion, Oman­guri Stick, who has been do­ing this per­for­mance for 25 years, says: “When I ap­peared on stage af­ter four male dancers, I was stunned by the cheers. “It’s a pleas­ant sur­prise and I am happy they loved our per­for­mance.”

“It’s very im­por­tant for an artist to per­form in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and com­mu­ni­cate with dif­fer­ent cul­tures and peo­ples. It is a plea­sure to be here and present Chi­nese cul­ture to Egypt.”

In a nearby hall, there was “2017 Ex­pe­ri­ence China,” an ex­hi­bi­tion and photo gallery on the life­style, tra­di­tions and his­tory of Xin­jiang and West China.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, in­au­gu­rated by Alexan­dria Gov­er­nor Mo­hamed Sul­tan and China’s Con­sul Gen­eral in Alexan­dria Xu Nan­shan, show­cases Xin­jiang’s tra­di­tional mu­sic in­stru­ments as well as a photo gallery.

Com­ment­ing on the ex­hi­bi­tion, the gov­er­nor says: “Such events are im­por­tant for cultural ex­changes and en­hanc­ing cultural ties.”

He de­scribed re­la­tions be­tween Egypt and China as “very strong,” stress­ing his coun­try’s keen­ness to deepen ties with China.

Chen Dongyun, the cultural coun­selor of the Chi­nese em­bassy and di­rec­tor of the Chi­nese Cultural Cen­ter in Cairo, says the event seeks to in­tro­duce Xin­jiang to the Egyp­tian peo­ple and widen the friend- ship be­tween the two na­tions.

“We hope that co­op­er­a­tion through China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in the econ­omy, tech­nol­ogy, ed­u­ca­tion and cul­ture spheres el­e­vates Egypt-China ties to a com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic part­ner­ship,” he adds.

PHO­TOS BY MENG TAO / XIN­HUA

Artists from China’s Xin­jiang Uygur autonomous re­gion dance in Alexan­dria, Egypt on July 10.

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