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Chinese girls recreate African dance flavor at Beijing Exhibition Center Theater


13:12, July 18, 2012

Girls in a major art troupe in Beijing are doing their best to recreate the African dance flavor at the Beijing Exhibition Center Theater.

Many of Africa's myriad tribes boast rich dance legacies. And now girls in a major art troupe in Beijing are doing their best to recreate the African dance flavor at the Beijing Exhibition Center Theater.

28-year-old Li Qingyuan is a dancer of China's Oriental Performing Arts Group, performing the lead in "A Faraway Tribe". The choreographer says her talent and her tall build helped her land the role. Li says she liked African dancing ever since she first saw it, and it comes naturally to her.

Li Qingyuan, dancer of China Oriental Performing Arts Group, said, "Our troupe mainly presents performing arts from Asia, Africa and Latin America. So Africa is a big part of our repertoire. Many of my colleagues like African dance. I fell in love with it immediately after I was enrolled in the troupe because it was very enthusiastic and unrestrained."

The dance piece is actually a highlight in the song and dance gala called "Dazzle", staged at the Beijing Exhibition Center Theater. Since its debut last August, the gala has been a hit. The Ministry of Culture awarded the African dance with the best choreography award last year.

The primitive sounds and beats of Africa have found a new home in China. The China Oriental Performing Arts Group has promoted the best of world art to Chinese audiences for six decades. But attracting audiences today which have almost unlimited amount of entertainment options could be a big challenge yet.

There are 40 African songs and dance pieces in the troupe's repertoire. Zhu Zhihua, one of the choreographers, says in order to tailor to today's Chinese audience, the piece must be authentic and at the same time enroll fashionable elements.

Zhu Zhihua, choreographer of China Oriental Performing Arts Group, said, "First of all, the lights, costumes, and stage designs must be fashionable. Second we emphasize on the real traits of African people, their enthusiasm, passion and humor. Their figure and posture, their rhythm of movement. So the show must be very authentic and at the same time, cater to the aesthetics of modern Chinese, who like shows both fashionable and at the same time very authentic."

The China Oriental Performing Arts Group has become more market driven after the government made cuts to art troupe funding. Though they must stand on their own financially, as a result they have become more creative than ever.


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