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August 26, 2009

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Romance as it used to be at dance drama

IN China, Qixi Festival, or Chinese Valentine's Day, is also known as the Daughters' Day. In ancient China, girls would hold special ceremonies on the day and pray for a satisfying marriage.

Young women in southern China usually collected flower petals in seven colors and put them into a basin of water. They would wash their eyes with the clear water, to ensure the brightest eyes in the search for Mr Right.

These ancient traditions and customs that have been slowly dying out will again come to life in a stage show titled "The Grand Trousseaus, Dream Of A Maiden."

The show composed of a dance drama and folk culture will be staged at Shanghai Grand Theater from September 1 to 4.

It tells the love story between handsome Ayong and beautiful Yue'er, both of whom come from affluent families. Their love grows with them from a childhood romance to life commitment.

"The show not only depicts a Qixi celebration but also represents a grand festive scene of marrying daughters in old times," says Zou Jianhong, director of Ningbo Singing and Dancing Troupe, the show's producer.

The saying "1,000-mu fertile land, 10-mile-long trousseaus" is often used to describe the richness of trousseaus and the magnificence of a wedding ceremony.

In cities of Ningbo and Shaoxing of eastern China's Zhejiang Province, such folk customs have been practised for several hundred years: brides in red sedans highlighted with phoenix and dragon designs, dressed up in chaplet and official robes and accompanied by a sea of grand red trousseaus.

For every maiden in the past, the best and happiest moment of life was when she sat in an exquisite red sedan accompanied by a cheering crowd all the way to her new family.

To recreate the atmosphere of these old-time scenes, some of the show's 400 properties and 520 costumes were borrowed from local folk culture museums, including lotus lanterns and descendant barrels which conveyed the best wishes to the newlyweds for a blooming life and beautiful and healthy offspring.

On the night of Qixi (August 26), the Moguteng Culture club will host a grand party for both local and foreign guests who will enjoy a traditional classic Chinese folk music live show.

Clad in traditional Han clothes, they can also join in Qixi-related activities and interactive games such as moon worship, pot casting and role playing. The single people there will also have the opportunity to find their dream love.

Awards will be handed out for participating in the games and gifts will be given for good acting. Registration is available at

Meanwhile, an art exhibition about the roses and the Bund's Waibaidu Bridge has opened at Shanghai Broadway Mansions.

Fang Yi and Huang Xiyue will display their recent watercolor and oil paintings which represent their unique interpretation of romance, fashion and the city's nostalgic resorts on the Bund.

The rose is a common subject of their paintings as it has a history rich in the symbolism of eternal love.

"The Grand Trousseaus, Dream of A Maiden"

Date: September 1-4, 7:15pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

Tickets: 100-500 yuan

Tel: 6232-8325, 6372-8702

Romantic Qixi evening party

Date: August 26, 6:30pm

Venue: Central Square of Yuyuan Garden, Renmin Rd, around Fuyou Rd

Admission: free

Tel: 6307-5181

Art exhibition

Date: through September 3, 10am-6pm

Venue: 2/F, Shanghai Broadway Mansions, 20 Beisuzhou Rd

Tel: 6357-9880


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