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The canal civilizations meet in Panama

Date:2018-12-11 13:55:39 Source:Xinhua News Agency Author:Organization

Recently, the dace drama of To Meet the Grand Canal, which was produced by Hangzhou Song and Dance Theatre with the combination of dance and theatre, took place in Panama. Drawing on modern expression, the dance drama tells a story of China’s Grand Canal ranging from its building to prosperity. There have been 150 tour performances so far and the art collision enables two peoples to conduct in-depth cultural exchanges and spur their profound cultural empathy. 
To enhance exchanges and friendship between two peoples through Canal
It is rainy season for Panama with unpredictable weather in November. A thunderstorm fell on the Panama City in a minute. However, people’s passion for this show was unfading. In the evening of November 18th, the dance drama of To Meet the Grand Canal have been publicly staged at the Amador Convention Center beside Panama Canal with a lot of local residents who came far being attracted to align themselves with the figures in the performance and experience the time-honored Chinese culture. 
After three years of preparation, this dance drama combined dance with theater, as well as incorporated the way of expression in modern artworks, and injected the means of expression in performance art and Chinese opera into the dances. Moreover, it features complete story, polished dance performance, and the integration of traditions and modern society, history and the future. 
The hero in this drama is from the modern times with the mission of exploring the time-honored history while the leading actress is a time-honored water drop. Themed on its building, prosperity, decay and revival, the ups and downs along the China’s Grand Canal were demonstrated in their love story which also mirrored the interdependence between human and nature, modern society and cultural heritage. 
Built in B.C. 486, the China’s Grand Canal spanned China from south to north. It was listed into the World Heritage List in 2014. While the Panama City is famous for its canal in the world and the Panama Canal entitled to be one of the Seven Wonders of Industrial World is an important waterway that cuts across the isthmus of Panama and connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean.  
Similarly, Panama boasts of notable canal in the world. Therefore, the story of “To Meet the Grand Canal” won a lot of friends from foreign countries. “The performance of To Meet the Grand Canal offers two peoples a good topic and provide more opportunities for exchanges and collision in art and culture.” said Louis, director of the Art College in Panama University. 
More than 160 years ago, the clipper Sea Witch arrived in Panama with more than 700 Chinese labors on board. They have become the first array of Chinese immigrants who started hundreds of years communications. On June 26th, 2016, the expanding construction project of the Panama Canal was open to shipment and a celebration for its shipment was held. Meanwhile, the COSCO Shipping Panama has become the first freighter in new Panama Canal. The canal not only witnessed the China-Panama traditional friendship but also served as an important channel for friendly exchanges between two peoples. “By virtue of the dance recognized as a world language, To Meet the Grand Canal expressed the power of love and brought Panamanian audience Chinese people’s friendship.” said Wei Qiang, Chinese ambassador to Panama. 
To conduct exchanges and collisions among canal civilizations by virtue of art performance
During the performance in Panama, the troupe visited the Panama University to conduct cultural exchanges with colorful activities held beside the famous river bank of Panama Canal and Monument to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Chinese People’s Arrival in Panama, such as folk art collection and flash mob. All of these colorful activities are more of an good opportunity for broadcasting cultural heritage than an art performance.
“This dance drama not only presented historical landscapes of the Grand Canal but also demonstrated the thoughts and judgement for the destiny of cultural heritage,” said Cui Wei, director of To Meet the Grand Canal, noting that it is an comprehensive extraction, presentation and brand new expression for the cultural value of China’s Grand Canal.
The motivation and dance performances were also agreed by Panamanian audience. “I was deeply touched and felt the producer’s affection for the canal.” said Marseille, an Panamanian engineer, with tears in his eyes when watching the performance.  
As a drama for broadcasting cultural heritage, two routes were designed at the beginning, one for domestic tours and the other for international tours. Themed on the tour routes, the producers broadcast the concept of protecting China’s Grand Canal through seminars, exhibition, performance art and flash mob. In 2017, To Meet the Grand Canal kicked off its international tour with 150 performances completed in many different canals so far, such as the Canal du Midi in France, Kiel Canal in Germany, Suez Canal in Egypt, Corinth Canal in Greek and Erie Canal in America. a journey of 120,000 kilometers. The number of audience stood at 170,000.
As the journey goes on, the cultural exchanges related to To Meet the Grand Canal are deepened as well. Every producer is the envoy spreading canal civilization and showing the world its cultural value; every audience has become a participant involved in canal protection and enhancing people’s appeal for cultural heritage protection. To this end, the UNSCO granted the troupe with the title of Messenger of Cultural Heritage Communication and Protection. As Alexia Gilaso, head of the Cultural Bureau of the Panama City, said, To Meet the Grand Canal is protecting world cultural heritage with art performances.
After the tour performances in America, The Tanztheater of To Meet the Grand Canal will be staged at Russia and Switzerland to carry on its journey. “The dialogues between China’s Grand Canal and the world famous canals will be carried out through tour performances in the interest of seeing their collisions” said Wang Zisheng, vice president of the regulatory commission of Hangzhou Media Group.

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