Alive in Music and Dance

A grand drum performance at the Great Hall of the People kicked off the second-ever Minorities Performances Festivals in Beijing on Sunday night.

More than 3,000 performers from dozens of ethnic groups gathered here to stage 84 song, dance and drama performances during the 10-day festival. It ends on September 25.

Audiences have waited for 21 years since the First Minorities' Performances Festivals amazed Beijing in 1980.

"It will be a feast for the audiences," said Li Jin, vice-chairman of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission. "All the performances, both traditional or newly created, feature strong ethnic flavor, distinct regional customs and minority development in the new times."

Among the spectacles will be a drama called Qomolangma which presents a comprehensive view into Tibetan history, culture, religion, music, dance and customs. Qomolangma is Tibetan for Mount Everest.

The show displays many styles of Tibetan dances, including Simchuo dance from Xigaze, Plait Drum dance from Shannan and Xuan Dance from Ngari.

"Songs from Tianshan" displays Xinjiang Uygur people's dynamic personalities.

"Pink Clouds in the Southern Sky" shows beautiful dances and sweet songs of southern China's ethnic groups, including the Bai, Yi and Miao peoples.

Various dramas including local operas, modern Chinese operas and Western-style operas - all based on historic stories - reveal new spirits of the times and involve new theatrical ways.

Cai Wenji, staged by Beijing Peking Opera Theatre, tells the story of a talented woman of the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-200).

Tibetan Opera Princess Wencheng portrays Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), who in AD 641 married Songtsam Gambo (c. 617-650), king of the Tubo Kingdom in Lhasa in the seventh century. He first introduced Buddhism and the Tang culture to Tibet.

The opera also displays the love between them and the friendship bearing long history between the Hans and the Tibetans.

The Beijing Symphony Orchestra gave a concert at the Forbidden City Concert Hall yesterday and will stage another one today. The audiences enjoyed Tibetan and Han musicians' works on the world's highest plateau as well as famed pianist Kong Xiangdong's concerto "Dream of Tibet."

The Inner Mongolian Folk Quyi Troupe presented two concerts at the Youths' Palace Theatre on Sunday and yesterday. The concerts featured folk music playing on the traditional Mongolian instruments.

(China Daily 09/19/2001)

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