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September 18, 2021

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Guangdong culture interpreted via dance drama

DANCE drama “Dragon Boat Racing,” winner of the 15th Wenhua Grand Prize, runs at Shanghai International Dance Center this weekend.

Presented by the Guangdong Song and Dance Theater, the production highlights the folk elements and Lingnan culture of southern China. It’s set in Shawan Town, Guangdong Province, in the 1930s. And Shawan is considered the home of Cantonese music.

The story centers on Cantonese musicians represented by the He family, and the creation of the well-known Cantonese song “Dragon Boat Racing,” as well as the musicians’ personal struggles and fighting spirit against an invading enemy during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.

Choreographers Han Zhen and Zhou Liya combined Chinese dance with contemporary dance elements, telling a story about music with body language. “Dragon Boat Racing” is an early signature work by Han and Zhou, who are also the creators of the very popular dance drama “The Eternal Wave.”

The performance involves Cantonese musical instruments like Yingge sticks and dragon boat drums. Shawan clay sculptures and tile carvings are featured in the stage design.

Though the production debuted in 2014, this is its Shanghai premiere. The host Shanghai International Dance Center Theater has been inviting the show to the city since 2016, and their sincerity has finally paid off.

The show stars popular dancers Li Xing and Li Yanchao. “Dragon Boat Racing” was the first drama dance in which the duo ever performed.


Dates: September 18-19, 7:30pm

Tickets: 80-880 yuan

Venue: Shanghai International Dance Center, Grand Theater

Address: 1650 Hongqiao Road


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