The National Opera and Dance Drama Theater regularly performs productions set in different parts of Chinese history. (Photo : Getty Images)
One of the most important theater companies in China, the National Opera and Dance Drama Theater has been performing classic operas and dance dramas in the country for over 60 years.
Founded in 1951 as Yan’an Lu Xun College of Art, the National Opera and Dance Drama Theater captured the hearts of many Chinese when the People’s Republic of China came to power. The group was lauded for their thought-provoking productions.
To this day, the theater group keeps stage performances alive in stages in China and even overseas.
The National Opera and Dance Drama Theater regularly performs productions set in different parts of Chinese history, allowing local and foreign fans to get to know the time period through its people’s social problems, struggles, and livelihoods.
Dance dramas and operas have also opened a new door for cultural workers, Chinese theater companies, and ambassadors to promote Chinese culture abroad.
“In recent years, almost 80 percent of our overseas audience are locals instead of just Chinese people,” said Xu Ning, the vice president of the theater group.
“We often see them applauding for more than ten minutes after a performance. From their expressions, I can tell they understood our culture and are interested in it. Their reactions make us more confident in the value of our traditional culture,” said Xu in an interview with CCTV.
Perhaps the most important cultural exchange project of the theater group today is “Confucius,” a dance drama that revolves around the life of the legendary Confucius, whose teachings are an integral part of Chinese culture.
According to Kong Dexin, a 77th-generation direct descendant of the sage and the director, “Confucius” has been received around the world with applause and admiration.
“Confucius was an educator and a philosopher. His ideas are representative of Chinese traditional philosophies, so we decided to tell his story to people all over the world by means of a dance drama.
"Audience members say they are tozhangched by the story’s elements, by its choreography, costumes, music and message. Many people in the west say they think it is amazing to get so close to a historic figure that lived thousands of years ago. They can’t believe that I, a descendant of Confucius, could have a family history that dates back that long ago,” Kong said.