‘12 Chinese Zodiac’ premiers in Argentina
The new musical theater production "12 Chinese Zodiac", one of the "Dances in China" brand projects launched by China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG), debuted in Argentina at a time-honored theatre in Buenos Aires on the evening of November 26, before the G20 Summit.
Guests attending the performance included Ms. Teresa Anchorena, chairwoman of the Argentine National Heritage Protection Committee, local cultural department officials, and the Italian Ambassador to Argentina. More than 1,500 local residents also enjoyed and warmly applauded the show, and some said it was the best Chinese performance they had ever seen.
Chen Chunmei, chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of the CAEG, said that the performance with its unique Chinese zodiac culture is a concentrated expression of the Chinese traditional virtues, and its simple ecological concept, extensive regionalism and nationalism, fairness and universality are consistent with the G20 summit's representative geographical balance and equality based on consensus and sustainability in economic development. Such cultural exchanges not only spread China's excellent traditional culture, but also promote communication between people of both countries.
"12 Chinese Zodiac" features Chinese stories, dances, and traditional Chinese culture. It integrates the unique Chinese cultural symbol of 12 zodiac signs and implies a 12-year cycle of recurrence, thereby interpreting the grand theme of "time and life" embodied in it.
"According to the traditional characteristics of our troupe, we tend to integrate elements of Asia, Africa and Latin America when telling Chinese stories and reflecting Chinese elements. The 12 Chinese Zodiac has hit the right note since the theme of the zodiac is suitable for everyone," said Song Guanlin, chairman of the China Oriental Performing Arts Group.
The musical theater has won wide domestic recognition and praise from the industry and audiences since its creation in 2017. In order to highlight the Chinese temperament, the theater combines China's most representative tea ceremony, bamboo culture, calligraphy, Chinese painting, Peking Opera, martial arts and other cultural elements. It also combines Chinese folk dance, classical dance, and contemporary dance into a unified dance vocabulary. Meanwhile, Chinese percussion instruments such as drums, cymbals, and pang-tzus blend with western ocean drums and rainsticks to create an audio-visual mixture of eastern and western cultures.
The two most widely circulated newspapers in Argentina, Clarin and LaNacion, took the initiative to have interviews and sent reporters to watch the performance. After the premiere, the Argentine popular writer Ludovica, author of the book My China, and Shen Chen, director of 12 Chinese Zodiac, joined a dialogue on How Chinese Dances Shape Chinese Cultural Image. The combination of lectures and exhibitions enabled the local people to understand the traditional Chinese dance art and the zodiac culture more directly.
In recent years, Latin America is playing an increasingly important role in major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics and the cultural exchange between China and Latin America have entered the honeymoon period. The activities of the China-Latin America and Caribbean 2016 Year of Culture Exchange, sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Culture (now the Ministry of Culture and Tourism) and the CAEG, were held in nearly 30 countries including China and those of Latin America. As the finale of the "Dances in China" project in 2018, the performance of the 12 Chinese Zodiacs will continue to deepen bilateral cultural exchange and mutual understanding.
"Dances in China" is a series of dance boutique repertoires for the world launched by the CAEG. It has distinctive features with Chinese cultural symbols, including both classic repertoires such as the Silk Road as well as new masterpieces in contemporary dance.
The performance of the 12 Chinese Zodiac in Buenos Aires is the first stop of its Latin American tour. After two performances in Argentina, the musical theatre will give six performances in Uruguay and Chile.