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Cultures of China shines in Vancouver show

(Xinhua)

08:47, September 08, 2011

VANCOUVER, Canada, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Cultures of China's North America tour got off to a strong start Tuesday with its opening night show in Canada staged at The Center in Vancouver for Performing Arts.

The tour, one of three currently traveling the world in celebration of the centennial of the Xinhai Revolution, is following in the footsteps of the global travels of Dr. Sun Yat Sen. Other tours are currently in Japan and Southeast Asia.

"I really hope the performance of our artists will deeply impress the Vancouver audience and we will enjoy a beautiful night together," said Xu Yousheng, vice minister of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the China's State Council, which is organizing the tour.

"We expect our tour could attract more overseas Chinese to join us in commemorating Dr. Sun Yat Sen's great achievements and looking into the brilliant future of our Chinese nation," Xu said.

With a cast of more than 40 performers, the two-hour show largely celebrates China's ethnic diversity in song and dance.

The show, which blends traditional sounds with modern beats, includes performances by Beijing Opera star Yang Chi, tenor Liu Weiwei, singers Feng Ruili, Ma Xiaochen and Ah Wang, and Inner Mongolian horse-head string player Chao Ke who paid homage to his host with a moving version of the Canadian classic Red River Valley.

Harry Bloy, British Columbia's multiculturalism minister, said with the western province being so ethnically diverse and home to more than 400,000 Chinese-Canadians, it was a fitting place for the tour to start.

"British Columbia is known as the most multicultural province in all of Canada and we've have to be able to see all the culture continue to grow, and for all the different ethnic communities to come together and share their culture from where they're from," Bloy said.

Following Vancouver, the tour will travel to Calgary, Toronto, Washington D.C., Houston and San Francisco, before finishing in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sept. 25.

All of the cities were visited by Dr. Sun as he traveled the world in search of support and funding from overseas Chinese in his battle to overthrow the imperial rulers.

The forerunner of the Chinese revolution visited Vancouver in 1897, 1910 and 1911. There he was embraced by the city's Chinese Freemasons community. The benevolent society raised 70,000 Canadian dollars for his cause to overthrow the Qing rulers and set China on a path of reform.

Cecil Fung, a member of the Vancouver Chinese Freemasons, which mortgaged its buildings to raise money for Sun, called the Cultures of China show a great tribute to the country and what it has achieved over the past 100 years.

"My impression is that it is a very spectacular show, especially when we look at, you know, we don't understand a lot of the cultures, but when we look at their costumes and the way that they dance and it shows all of the diversity that we have in China and the different cultures," Fung said.

"It is very refreshing to see that all these cultures, minority cultures, are preserved and propagated," Fung said. "You know this is a wonderful opportunity for the people in Canada, in Vancouver, to be able to have a taste of it, and it is absolutely astounding to see them perform."

The show also struck a chord with young people.

"Growing up in Canada I didn't really get to experience the culture in China and all the different nationalities there," said 15-year-old Linda Bian. "The show is really fascinating. There are lots of different nationalities in China and you get to see all the different kind of dances and yeah, it was just a really exciting adventure."

Helen Hu moved to Canada from Chongqing when she was 7 years old and said she was constantly trying to find out about her culture, despite living thousands of kilometers away.

"It (the show) was absolutely stunning and dazzling. Even though I'm a Chinese, I'm still amazed by this," the teen-ager said. "Vancouver is my second home, so it's always nice to find a part of my culture here, too and get a taste of what my original homeland culture is like."


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