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Secrets behind the success of BRICS evening gala

Time:2017-09-05   Source:chinadaily.com.cn/CGTN


Performers take part in an evening gala for the 2017 BRICS Summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, Sept 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
 


After eight months' delicate preparations, an evening gala Sail to the Future for leaders and representatives attending the 9th BRICS Summit was held at the Banlam Grand Theater in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province.

Based on the theme of "sea", the gala consists of five chapters including Wind from the Sea, Sky and the Sea, Rhythm of the Sea, Tide and the Sea as well as the Dream from the Sea, highlighting the unique Fujian culture while introducing the strongest features of Xiamen.

Taking advantage of 'sea‘ element to promote cooperation

Sea was the central idea that ran through the whole gala as it is also one of the most distinctive characteristics of Xiamen, a city with three sides facing the sea.

A group of dancers created "billowing waves" during the performance, marking the opening of the evening gala.

In the second part, the popular Chinese song The Sea, My Sweet Home featured the life of the people living in this area, and their proud Fujian, or Minnan culture.

"The unique geographic advantages and of the costal city and the local lifestyle gave us much inspiration of the evening gala," said Xie Nan, general director of the evening gala.

"Many Minnan culture elements, including Fujian opera, fishing culture and Fujian Nanyin, hailed as a "living fossil" of ancient Chinese music, all were incorporated into the stage performance."

"I experienced a great artistic baptism after directing the gala. The combination of Fujian Nanyin and Western symphony symbolized the harmonious co-existence of Eastern and Western culture," Xie added.
 

Performers take part in an evening gala for the 2017 BRICS Summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, Sept 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
 

Performers take part in beautiful dance in an evening gala for the 2017 BRICS Summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, Sept 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
 


Revising again and again for the perfect performance

The performance Listen to the Rain showcased a typical local art form known as "Yajiagu", performed by foot drums and bamboo clappers. This type of art features prominently in the local operas.

The dance section saw a performance of a typical wedding ceremony observed by the She ethnic group.

Many of the She people live in Fujian province, and their wedding ceremony is considered to be a lively celebration marking the beginning of new chapter in life.

According to Zhang Dongxin, executive director of the evening gala, the preparations of the gala can be dated back to the beginning of Chinese Lunar New Year. And the dancing and singing part have been revised for more than six times.

"A good performance requires close relationship between composing and dance rhythm. At first, we asked the composer and dancer to create their works on their own, then they had to discuss with each other again and again to find the balance. It was not a simple progress. They needed not just perfect time but inspiration and team work," Zhang said.


Performers take part in an evening gala for the 2017 BRICS Summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, Sept 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
 

A performer plays guzheng, a traditional Chinese musical instrument, in an evening gala for the 2017 BRICS Summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, Sept. 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
 


Promoting Fujian's Nanyin to the world

One spotlight of the gala was Nanyin. Nanyin, which has a history of some 1,000 years, is one of the oldest forms of Chinese music preserved in its original state. It was listed in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009, bringing it international attention.

It is central to the culture of the people of Minnan (the southern part of Fujian province) as well as the Minnan diaspora overseas. "Nanyin was one of the surprises as the ancient artist form came to the world stage for the first time," said Guan Xia, musical director of the evening gala.

"When we prepared the gala, we wanted to reach as many audiences as possible. As we all know, people from different countries have a different taste in art, so the gala should showcase profound Chinese culture and at the same time reflect the globalized features," Guan added.

"The aim of holding such a gala should be international influences, Chinese characteristics, BRICS spirit and Minnan culture. Therefore, we wanted to use the sea element to promote Chinese traditional culture," said Chen Yan, dance director of the evening gala.


Two artists perform traditional wedding ceremony and dancing in an evening gala for the 2017 BRICS Summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, Sept 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
 

Performers sing traditional Fujian opera in an evening gala for the 2017 BRICS Summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, Sept 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]
 


Creative designing shows off Chinese cultural confidence

The gala closed with Chinese singer Tan Weiwei singing Sail to the Future, accompanied by four pianists from Xiamen. The song expressed the great hope of BRICS countries to embrace a bright and better future.

"The timing is always a tough task for a gala, and we have to utilize limited time to show as many things as possible. All the programs are not held alone; instead, they have to be closely linked with one another to reflect the big picture of BRICS Summit," said Chen Weiya, director of the art designing committee of the evening gala.

"A gala distinguished by Chinese culture and the local artistic features has become an indispensable part of the high-profile international conferences held in China in recent years. Last year, during the G20 Summit, a gala featuring the unique culture of the Yangtze River Delta impressed the world," said Chen.

Cultural cooperation has been highlighted at this year's BRICS Summit. While calling on all the member countries to jointly usher a second "Golden Decade" of BRICS cooperation, President Xi Jinping said at the opening ceremony of BRICS Business Forum that more events, such as cultural festivals, movie festivals and sports games, should be held.


Singer Tan Weiwei takes part in an evening gala for the 2017 BRICS Summit and the Dialogue of Emerging Market and Developing Countries in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province, Sept 4, 2017. [Photo/VCG]