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Festival of China to Be Held in Washington DC

A month-long Festival of China will be jointly presented in Washington D.C by the Chinese Ministry of Culture (MOC) and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from October 1 to 31.

The event is the result of three years' planning and preparation.

The festival aims to recreate the grandeur and magnificence of China's 5000 years of civilization, according to Pu Tong, deputy director of Bureau for External Cultural Relations of the Ministry of Culture, who was speaking at an MOC press conference on Thursday.

According to Wu Xun, director of the Department of American and Oceanic Affairs at the MOC, both sides contributed to the festival budget of US$7 million. Alicia Adams, vice president of International Programming and Dance at the Kennedy Center, said that the festival will be the largest celebration of Chinese performing arts in American history and the largest one in scale that the center has hosted.

More than 600 performers from the fields of dance, music, traditional opera and contemporary theater from cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Xi'an, along with Chinese artists based in the US, will participate in the event. Visual art and contemporary film exhibitions will also be presented. Eight Chinese modern movies will be screened, two movies every Monday, throughout the month.

For the opening on October 1, which coincides with China's National Day, three terracotta warriors and a photo exhibition entitled "Charming Beijing" will be put up in the lobby of the Kennedy Center. The China Contemporary Installation and Sculpture Exhibition will be set up in the opening area of the center.

Numerous outdoor activities are also planned for the opening, including a folk customs exposition and kite flying.

An evening show will be held in the Eisenhower Theater of the Center to formally kick off the month-long festival. A fireworks display entitled Tornado created by American Chinese Artist Cai Guoqiang will be set up by the Potomac River.

Other performances scheduled for the festival include Female Generals from the Yang Family by China National Peking Opera Company, Tea House by Beijing People's Art Theater, Raise the Red Lantern and Mixed Repertoire by China National Ballet, Mixed Shadow and Puppet Program by Shaanxi Folk Art Theater, a concert with Lang Lang performing Yellow River by Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, and Map by Shanghai Symphony Orchestra conducted by Tan Dun.

Prof. Sun Jingbo of China Central Academy of Fine Arts was commissioned by the MOC to paint two murals -- Verve of China, in acrylic, featuring flying asparas with musical instruments; and another based on the famous calligraphy work of Wang Xizhi's Orchid Pavilion Preface, in lacquer. The murals are to be donated to the Kennedy Center and installed in the VIP lounge of the Eisenhower Theater and unveiled during the festival. The lounge will be renamed "The Chinese Room."

The festival will take place in between the reciprocal state visits by President Hu Jintao and President George W. Bush in September and November respectively.

Visitors will have to purchase tickets for performances, but most of the exhibitions are free of charge.

Part of the festival includes a "Cultural Week of Beijing," a series of activities to be held in Beijing from October 1 to 9 in tandem with the main festival in the US.

(China.org.cn by Chen Lin September 2, 2005)

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