Show puts spot­light onMar­itime Silk Road

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By CHEN­NAN

A dance drama, which puts the an­cient Mar­itime Silk Road in fo­cus, was staged in Fuzhou, the cap­i­tal of Fu­jian prov­ince, on Aug 30.

The show, ti­tled Dream of the Mar­itime Silk Road, fea­tured Chi­nese clas­si­cal dance moves and was per­formed by the Fu­jian Opera and Dance Drama The­ater.

It tells the story of a com­mer­cial fleet in China’s Quanzhou port in Fu­jian prov­ince.

The cap­tain of the fleet, A Hai, is in­vited by a Per­sian prince to help jointly de­velop a new sail­ing route.

Dur­ing the voy­age, the fleet is struck by a storm and the cap­tain sac­ri­fices his life to save the Per­sian prince.

The wife of the cap­tain, Tong Hua, then raises their son alone and 20 years later, the son, Xiao Hai, fol­lows his fa­ther to be­come a cap­tain, keep­ing alive the fam­ily tra­di­tion.

Since the dance drama de­buted in 2014, it has been per­formed more than 60 times, not just at home but also abroad, in­clud­ing at the United Na­tions head­quar­ters in New York in Fe­bru­ary 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to the show’s di­rec­tor, Xing Shimiao, the an­cient Silk Road usu­ally con­jures up im­ages of wind, deserts and camels. But when it comes to the Mar­itime Silk Road, it is a dif­fer­ent story.

The Mar­itime Silk Road, which ran from China through South­east Asia and the In­dian Ocean to Europe, took shape about the time of the Qin Dy­nasty (221-206 BC) and reached its peak dur­ing the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dy­nas­ties.

The route, once used by leg­endary trav­el­ers such as Marco Polo and the Moroc­can ex­plorer Ibn Bat­tuta, orig­i­nated in Quanzhou, which was where dif­fer­ent cul­tures met, and which served as an in­ter­na­tional port.

Quanzhou was then known for its lo­cal Min­nan cul­ture (south­ern Fu­jian), ar­ti­fi­cial flow­ers, white chi­naware, Oo­long tea and folk mu­sic.

Speak­ing about the show’s re­cent per­for­mance, Xing, the show’s di­rec­tor, says: “We have added more lo­cal cul­tural el­e­ments into the pro­duc­tion. For ex­am­ple, the Xunpu women, whose cos­tumes de­rived from ocean cul­ture, are an im­por­tant part of the folk cos­tumes in south­ern Fu­jian.”

The lat­est pro­duc­tion also blends mu­sic from a West­ern sym­phony orches­tra and folk in­stru­ments from Fu­jian.

Xing adds that the show is also a sym­bol of the East-West com­mer­cial and cul­tural ex­changes, echo­ing the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, which marks the re­vival of the an­cient trade route un­der Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s One Belt, One Road Ini­tia­tive.

The plan of turn­ing the dance drama into a movie, with 2-D and 3-D ver­sions, was an­nounced in Fuzhou late last month.

HU MEIDONG / CHINA DAILY

The show DreamoftheMar­itimeSilkRoad fea­tures a dancer dur­ing its Fu­jian per­for­mance on Aug 30.

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