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'Ironman' dance show proves inspirational hit

Updated: 2021-08-03 08:58 ( Xinhua )
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A poster from the dance drama Iron Man, which premiered in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on July 9. The show was staged at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on July 23. [Photo/chncpa.org]

A dance drama has won public acclaim after using a new form of dance to depict the life of a late Chinese model worker known as "Ironman" across the country.

On the night of July 23, the show Iron Man hit the stage at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, highlighting the "Ironman "spirit represented by Wang Jinxi, a model oilfield worker who devoted his life to the development of the petroleum industry.

The event was put together by about 100 artists from Liaoning Ballet of China and the Liaoning provincial song and dance troupe. The show incorporates the art forms of ballet and Chinese classic and modern dance to tell the stories of Wang Jinxi.

Born in 1923, Wang was one of the first-generation oil rig workers after the founding of the People's Republic of China. After China discovered the Daqing Oilfield in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province in 1959, Wang led a group of workers from Gansu province to Daqing the following year. Under his leadership, the workers managed to dig the first oil well within 124 hours.

For years, documentaries, music and films abounded around the life of Wang, who died at the age of 47, and using various types of dance to depict him and his life seemed like a new and inspiring way to retell the story.

"We want to let the public better understand the 'Ironman' spirit in the form of a dance drama," says the show's scriptwriter Wang Yong.

Ballet dancer Zhang Haidong plays Wang Jinxi in the show.

"Before the show, Wang Jinxi was just an ordinary name to me," Zhang says. "But after countless practices for the character, now I understand the 'Ironman' spirit, which is striving forward to overcome all difficulties."

The show took more than two years to create, and the artists performed the dance drama in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning, earlier this month, much to public acclaim. Many called the event "epic".

"We combined three types of dance in the show, the first of its kind in China's history," says Qu Zijiao, head of Liaoning Ballet of China.

Han Wei, Party secretary of Liaoning Provincial Cultural Performing Arts Group and the show's producer, says the show will bring the stories of Wang Jinxi and the "Ironman "spirit into people's hearts with "artistic creativity".

"I thought the 'Ironman' spirit was far away from me in life, but after watching the show, I can relate to it," says a viewer surnamed Wang. "Workers like Wang Jinxi dedicated their best years to the country at around my age. Without their dedication, we would not be able to live the wonderful life now."

"It's a great show both in terms of the content and the artistic expression," says Guo Dongmei, who watched the show in Beijing on the night of July 23. "I hope that they will continue to perform the show for the public."

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