Da Bei Chuan dancers performing on stage [newssc.org]
Dance production Da Bei Chuan, or Mianyang-Beichan, based on the Sichuan earth-quake and Qiang culture, will hit Beijing's Poly Theater Friday evening and Saturday as it begins a new China tour. The cast comprises of 60 dancers from the city of Mianyang, Sichuan Province and reflects the human compassion that followed the disastrous earthquake in 2008.
"As the only Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in China, Beichuan in western Sichuan Province was almost destroyed by the earthquake and the Qiang culture also encountered great devastation, the protection and saving of the Qiang culture has become an important mission for local people," Da Bei Chuan's writer Liao Xiong said.
"The performance showcases the spirit of Qiang culture, including music, drums, dance and clothing, however, with new artistic creation based on the primitive beauty," added director Xie Limin.
The 85-minute production tells several stories about people who were affected by the earthquake - an elderly woman trying to find her son and a pair of young lovers, saved by soldiers.
Da Bei Chuan also depicts the 3,000-year history of the Qiang people, presenting the minority's vitality through traditional dance and music.
"Qiang's dance is quite like Tibetan dance, jubilant and lively, distinctive movements of the shoulders and hips to the rhythm of Qiang music," explained Luo Bin, art director of Da Bei Chuan and director of the Dance Research Institute at Chinese Academy of Arts. "We use a lot of traditional instruments, such as the qiangdi, a local flute and kouxian, a kind of simple whistle used by Qiang women."
The qianghong, a long piece of silk or cloth used as a symbol of sacrifice or greeting gift is also an important symbolic element of the production.