Ethnic Art Needs to Further Tap the Market

China's Second National Joint Art Show by Ethnic Minority Groups in Beijing has greatly touched the audience, many of whom said efforts should be made to further develop the market for ethnic performance.

A series of operas and dramas featuring Chinese ethnic culture, such as the Tibetan dance drama Qomolangma and the Uygur dance drama The Flower of Dolan, have been staged in the past several days, and have been greatly appreciated by the public.

Though the performances were attractive, few audience are acquainted with these classic ethnic dramas.

As this kind of large-scale well-organized national show can only be conducted once a year, ethnic art hasn't been well exposed to the public, said Yue Yuqing, a member of the China Transportation Association.

Moreover, difficulty obtaining fund has been a common barrier for the ethnic performance troupes in developing their businesses.

Jia Maosheng, president of the provincial modern drama troupe of Shanxi Province, said the one-million-yuan investment in the ethnic historical drama hasn't been recovered though it has been staged several dozen times.

The Tibetan dance drama Qomolangma has also not recovered its investment, since in most cases it is staged for non-commercial purposes, sources said.

Referring to the lucrative performances of the Three Tenors and various western symphonic troupes in June this year in Beijing, many Chinese art officials said that Chinese ethnic performance groups can not only produce masterpieces, but can also make large profits.

Many performance directors said exploring more of the market would be of great significance for the survival and development of China's ethnic troupes that are greatly short of funds.

Ahmetjam Imin, director of the Aksu dance troupe from the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang, said his troupe started to settle financing problems by conducting commercial performances in 1998 after he attended the Shanghai International Art Festival.

He said the troupe has received invitations from Russia, Hungary, and Israel asking them to perform abroad.

According to Imin, the troupe has given more than 20 performances around China this year, earning over 300,000 yuan.

"I know very well the performance markets in different parts of China, and I am always ready to negotiate with business partners," said Imin, director of the grand drama Flower of the Dolan.

Wang Liqi, deputy director of the Shaanxi dance drama troupe, said the troupe has harvested considerable income by performing dances from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), which provided great financial support to the opera Zhang Qian they performed in Beijing.

Though the Chinese government has allocated special funds each year to protect ethnic art, the troupes themselves should move to tap the market so as to acquire sustainable development, experts say.

(Xinhua News Agency 09/19/2001)

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