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Int'l Art Festival Opens in Jiangxi

Hundreds of domestic and foreign dancers staged performances Sunday in Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, marking the opening of an international art festival that highlights ancient China's exorcism customs.


Watching street performance by 34 folk dancing teams from China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, Brazil, and Mozambique, local people relived the ancient rituals of expelling evil spirits and pestilence, which were originally staged during Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.


Activities during the one-week event include a street show, a masked carnival, a folk singing and dancing performance, a seminar and an exhibition on Jiangxi's "Nuo" culture, and joint fieldwork by Chinese and overseas experts.


Nuo ritual, considered to be an eldest form of Chinese dancing, is more a theatrical performance for entertainment in modern society.


The 2,000-year-old folk opera was once used to express farmers' solicitation for good climate, rich harvest and family prosperity.


Nuo performers are often equipped with whips and dance in mysterious tunes. They also wear masks painted with black, white and red in various countenances -- some amiable and others ferocious and frightening.


Jiangxi is know as a cradle of Nuo operas, which are also foundin some southern and southwestern part of China.


The festival is expected to expand international cultural cooperation and exchanges and help preserve the Chinese folk art form that is on the verge of extinction, said Li Shuwen, chief of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles (CFLAC).


The art festival is jointly sponsored by Jiangxi provincial government, CFLAC, and Chinese Association of Folk Writers and Artists.


(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2005)


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