A leading approach to communicate the Chinese language and culture worldwide is to establish Confucius Institutes across the globe. However, a new initiative has risen by way of Theatre.
China National Opera and Dance Drama Theatre commissioned the recent performance of a Confucius dedicated production in Xi’an, where Ms Kong Dexin, 77th generation descendant of Confucius, directed and choreographed a “flashy new dance-drama” about the revered ancient philosopher.
Spectators recounted that “the wide-sleeves on the scholar’s robe billowed as the bearded sage whirled, cartwheeled and leapt across stage before a backdrop of massive bamboo strips inscribed with ancient Chinese characters”.
The premier of the 90 minute show was in Beijing in 2013 and has since toured through Europe. It has become a cultural calling card for China as the country seeks to bolster its efforts to project soft power abroad. The production will visit the Kennedy Centre in Washington after going to New York in January 2017.
Over the centuries, Confucius has become one of the most important and recognisable symbols of traditional Chinese culture. Across East Asia, his teachings about harmony, benevolence and righteousness have influenced everything from the makeup of political institutions to the dynamics of everyday relationships. There is no limitation to how these values can be transmitted to Western cultures, with Theatre being a primary example.
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