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Tibetan Farmers to Stage Traditional Dancing at CCTV's New Year Eve Gala
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A group of 70 Tibetan farmers and herders left for Beijing Tuesday to rehearse Tibetan singing and dancing performances for the new year eve gala on the China Central Television (CCTV).

The amateur artists, 40 men and 30 women, will stage a five-minute program at the gala on Feb. 17, the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which will be broadcast live to nationwide TV viewers and overseas Chinese.

This will be the first time for traditional Tibetan programs to appear at the country's highest-profile gala performance, said Purbu Oinzen, vice president of the troupe for farmers and herders in Lhaze County of Xigaze.

The farmer-turned artists will stage a festive Tibetan tap dance and rap, accompanied by traditional music played on guitar-like instruments. "It'll help people from outside Tibet learn about the traditional art form -- after all, the new year eve gala is one of the most widely watched TV programs," said Zhaxi Puncog, a villager in Lhaze county.

Nearly 50,000 people in the county dance the tap dance, a centuries-old folk art. The local administration in charge of tobacco sales sponsored the founding of the amateur troupe in Nov. 2005 to commercialize the art form and boost local economic development.

The troupe has 90 artists, all Tibetans, aged between 17 and 43 and has performed in Beijing and Hangzhou in the eastern Zhejiang Province. The artists report an average annual earning of 10,000 yuan (US$1,282), said Oinzen.

(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2007)

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