(Reuters) Los Angeles, U.S. – The first American performances of “Moon Over the Helan Mountain” officially began at the Los Angeles-area Bonita Center for the Arts on Friday, March 29, 2019.
Yet for many in the audience, the event symbolized a place much farther away, to a time much further back. To the lands in Ningxia, China in which the music and dance originated, to the era when the characters of the dance drama would have met on the ancient Silk Road.
The Yinchuan Art Theatre Company, which is managed by the city government’s Yinchuan City Bureau of Culture, Press, Publication, Radio and TV, is proud of this heritage. The theater has worked in coordination with The China Arts and Entertainment Group—the organization within China dedicated to cultural outreach— and its subsidiary, the China Performing Arts Agency (CPAA), to continue the expansion of “Moon Over the Helan Mountain” across the globe.
Since its debut in 2007, “The Moon Over the Helan Mountain” has played in more than 30 cities in China, Europe, Africa, and Asia. It has won more than 30 honors including the special award of the WENHUA grand prize, the Lotus Award, the Peony Award, the Golden Chrysanthemum Award, and rated a “Top Ten Excellent Drama” by the National Stage Art organization. It is currently included in the catalogue of foreign cultural exchanges by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
And at every stop, the performance includes new guests from increasingly more diverse backgrounds. The opening night included Hollywood film actors, dance instructors who teach on Caribbean cruise ships, diplomats from Bangladesh, and local American politicians.
When asked about what it was like to see the event, a young resident of San Dimas said, “In my section we had children in one row and grandparents in another. It reminded me that we can have new experiences at any point in our lives, when we are young and when we are old.”
Lisa, a local teacher from a private school teaching young students Mandarin, added, “Sometimes, the best part of the cultural exchange process is connecting the next generation of Americans with the history of other countries in a format they can share with their friends and family. Sometimes cultural outreach sounds like a big international process, but it can happen within the home.”
After the show, the film director Omar Al Aldakheel, whose own work has appeared in film festivals across North America, Europe, and the Middle East, and has had documentaries appear on the television networks Al Jazeera and National Geographic said, “Wherever we are from in the world, when we talk about China we’re usually speaking about a very broad idea. We forget that China is a rich and diverse nation. What’s important about this show is that it gives us a look at the different subcultures and groups within the larger country. It lets us see that China is made of unique and special people, people that have so much to share.”
Next for “Moon Over the Helan Mountain” are additional shows in Los Angeles, as well as Las Vegas, and San Francisco area.
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