Shanghai festival kicks off with dance drama from Henan

Updated: 2011-10-18 08:10

By Zhang Kun (China Daily)

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The 13th China Shanghai International Arts Festival (CSIAF) kicks off at the Shanghai Culture Square on Tuesday with an original dance drama from Henan province titled, Goddess and the Dreamer.

Ever since the CSIAF's first edition in 1999, it's the norm that if opened by a Chinese project, it will end with a performance from abroad, says Liu Wenguo, the festival's art director.

"We have chosen the ballet, The Taming of the Shrew, from Bavaria for the closing performance this year," he said at a press conference on Oct 16.

The festival, which will run till Nov 18, will feature 50 stage shows and 18 exhibitions. "Although we have a shorter list this year, we have better programs," Liu says.

Shanghai festival kicks off with dance drama from Henan

Of the 27 performances from abroad, the most anticipated are the Bejar Ballet Lausanne's world premiere of the modern dance show La ou sont les oiseaux and a symphony concert by the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra which will present Gustav Mahler's Symphony No 5.

In order to help more people access the events, CSIAF organizers are offering 15,000-20,000 low-price tickets for the elderly, students and people with special needs, through 38 box offices located in residential communities.

"The average ticket price for all performances will be around 50 yuan,"says Chen Dong, vice-director of the city's publicity bureau.

Liu, the art director of CSIAF says, "More than 60 percent of all tickets have been sold for the first half of the festival. The most popular shows, 11 in total, are already 90 percent sold-out."

The festival will present a live broadcast of the concert by Berliner Philharmoniker, on an outdoor screen at Century Square in downtown Nanjing Road E, on the evening of Nov 13.

An exhibition of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso will be held at the China Pavilion of World Expo Park from Oct 18 to Jan 10 next year, showcasing 62 paintings, sculptures and prints, making it the largest exhibition of the modern master in the Chinese mainland so far. The festival will also feature Austrian woman artist Xenia Hausner, whose works are now on display at the Shanghai Art Museum.

Goddess and the Dreamer is a new production from Zhengzhou Songs and Dance Troupe. The story is based on the historical accounts of the Three Kingdoms Period (AD220-280) when Cao Pi and his younger brother Cao Zhi competed for the throne, as well as the love of a woman Zhen Mi.

"It is a show of extremely high artistic level, and rich national culture. People who know little about the art of dance will be able to enjoy it as much as the experts and critics," Liu says.

"Zhengzhou used to be at the heart of Chinese culture more than 1,800 years ago," says the director of the production, Tong Ruirui. "Most of the choreography has come from images sculptured on antique bricks found in the region."

Goddess is the second dance production from Henan to show at CSIAF. In 2004, Feng Zhong Shaolin (Shaolin in the Wind), a show featuring Shaolin Kungfu, had a successful run at the CSIAF.