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A moving tribute

Updated: 2021-05-13 08:33 ( China Daily )
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Dancers from the National Ballet of China rehearse some chapters from the new production, Century, in Beijing on April 28, including Jingwei Trying to Fill Up the Sea. Century will be premiered at Tianqiao Theater in Beijing on May 23 and will run until May 30.[Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

A new dance production marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China by celebrating the spirit of the nation's people, Chen Nan reports.

About a year ago, when Feng Ying, president of the National Ballet of China, envisioned a new production to mark the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, she contacted her artist friends, composer Guan Xia and scriptwriter Zhu Hai.

After numerous phone calls and online exchanges, they decided to create a ballet which is symphonic, but with a clear narrative. They named the new production, Century, which pays tribute to the country and its people.

On May 23, Century will be premiered at Tianqiao Theater in Beijing and will run until May 30.

Scriptwriter Zhu borrowed four Chinese folk tales to write four chapters for the ballet production and composer Guan wrote four works, one for each chapter.

The opening chapter tells the story Goddess Nyuwa Repairs the Sky (Nyuwa Butian). Nyuwa is the goddess who, in Chinese mythology, created human beings. One tale goes that heaven was once broken in a disaster, so Nyuwa patched the collapsing sky with colored stones and even sacrificed herself by using her own body when the stones ran out-thereby saving the human world.

"When we started to create this new ballet production, COVID-19 hit. The news about people, especially the medical workers, who fought together against the pandemic, moved us the most," says Zhu, who has been a member of the creative team of the annual China Central Television's Spring Festival gala and is also a poet.

"The story of Goddess Nyuwa Repairs the Sky is about a kind, loving mother, who sacrifices herself for her children. It's a story we wanted to dedicate to those who fought against the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines."

The second chapter, Jingwei Trying to Fill Up the Sea (Jingwei Tianhai), is the mythical story of a daughter of Yandi, one of China's earliest tribal leaders, who, after drowning at sea, becomes a bird and endeavors to fill the ocean with twigs and stones to prevent others from drowning.

The third chapter follows the story of Yugong Moves Away the Mountains (Yugong Yishan), which is about a 90-year-old man who, alongside his offspring and grandchildren, is determined to move two giant mountains.

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