Mon­tana wows at embassy

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­[email protected]­nadai­lyusa.com

The Rocky Moun­tain Bal­let The­atre (RMBT) from Mon­tana has a deep China con­nec­tion, hav­ing made three trips there. That is the rea­son why, just hours af­ter land­ing in Wash­ing­ton, they went to the Chi­nese embassy and put on a show Mon­day af­ter­noon.

The troupe is in Wash­ing­ton for its per­for­mance at the Capi­tol Christ­mas Tree Lighting Cer­e­mony on Wed­nes­day, as this year’s Christ­mas tree on the Capi­tol West Lawn was cho­sen from the Koote­nai Na­tional For­est in Mon­tana.

The pro­gram at the Chi­nese embassy had a strong Chi­nese fla­vor, just go­ing by the names of the per­for­mances, such as In­ner Mon­go­lian Milk­ing Cow Dance, The Wild Mon­tana Turkey That Flew to Bei­jing, and Bam­boo Hat Dance from The Red De­tach­ment of Women, one that amazed the au­di­ence and won huge ap­plause.

“I love China,” said Louie Plant Sr, a pro­fes­sional fancy dancer from the Sal­ish Koote­nai Na­tion and a RMBT prin­ci­pal dancer and leader of the In­ter­tribal Pow Wow through­out China in Diplo­macy tours in 2008, 2010 and 2014. He went on all three of the trips.

For Char­lene Camp­bell Carey, the bal­let’s artis­tic direc­tor, The En­gel­mann Spruce Tree & Her Daz­zling Com­pan­ions was the high­light. It was cre­ated for the Capi­tol Tree lighting.

“This last piece you are go­ing to see is to honor our beau­ti­ful tree,” Carey told the au­di­ence be­fore the dance.

US Sen­a­tor Steve Daines and US Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Gian­forte, both from Mon­tana, and their wives were in the au­di­ence on Mon­day, ac­com­pa­nied by Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the US Cui Tiankai.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am to­day as a Mon­tanan that the Rocky Moun­tain Bal­let troupe is here to per­form at the Chi­nese embassy,” said Daines, who worked in China for six years in the 1990s for the US com­pany Proc­ter & Gam­ble.

The sen­a­tor said that he and his wife Cindy both felt a con­nec­tion to the Chi­nese peo­ple and ex­pe­ri­enced many high­lights of their lives while liv­ing in China.

He mar­veled at the rapid growth of the Chi­nese econ­omy, which bal­looned from less than $500 bil­lion in 1992 to nearly $11.5 tril­lion in 2016. “The change seen is re­mark­able. … That is why an event like this cul­ture ex­change is even more im­por­tant,” he said.

Gian­forte, who took of­fice in June, said, “I am thrilled that the Rocky Moun­tain Bal­let is here. I could call each one of them an am­bas­sador as well, be­cause true, that’s what they do.”

He praised the troupe for trav­el­ing the world build­ing cul­tural bridges.

“We need to build bridges, so we can find com­mon ground,” Gian­forte said of China and the US. There are an aw­ful lot of cow­boys in Mon­tana that are very ac­tive in hav­ing this re­la­tion­ship (with China), that our beef is go­ing to be on the din­ner table in China. We ap­pre­ci­ate that con­nec­tion.”

China re­sumed im­ports of US beef in July af­ter a 13-year ban, gen­er­at­ing ex­cite­ment in Mon­tana and other ma­jor US cat­tle-farm­ing states.

Cui said mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and friend­ship be­tween the two peo­ples is the “real foun­da­tion for long-stand­ing re­la­tions be­tween our two coun­tries”.

“To­day, it’s a very unique op­por­tu­nity for us to have the Rocky Moun­tain Bal­let giv­ing us that per­for­mance in the embassy,” he said. “I am sure by work­ing to­gether we will build stronger and more ro­bust co­op­er­a­tion ties be­tween China and Mon­tana and in­ject new im­pe­tus to the re­la­tions and friend­ship be­tween our two great peo­ples.”

CHEN WEIHUA / CHINA DAILY

Dancers from the Rockey Moun­tain Bal­let The­atre of Mis­soula, mon­tana, which has trav­eled to china three times per­form Bam­boo Hat Dance, a mod­ern ren­di­tion from chi­nese bal­let The Red De­tach­ment of Women at the chi­nese embassy in wash­ing­ton on Mon­day....

CHEN WEIHUA / CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the US Cui Tiankai (from row, third from left), US Sen­a­tor Steve Daines (sec­ond from left) and US Con­gress­man Greg Gian­forte (third from right) of Mon­tana ap­plaud while watch­ing a show by the Rocky Moun­tain Bal­let The­atre at the...

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