The ‘Rhythm of Liaohai Gala’ took place in Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), on the 6th and 7th of December. The gala, which consisted of 13 performances, was organized by the China Cultural Centre in Pakistan and the Liaoning Song and Dance Ensemble. As a cultural collaboration between the two countries, the gala showcased the dance and music of both Pakistan and China.
The chief guests included the new Chinese Ambassador H.E. Mr Yao Jing, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb, and Director General PNCA Mr. Jamal Shah. All three addressed the audience regarding the progress in Pakistan-China friendship. H.E. Mr. Yao Jing pointed out that our friendship has existed for thousands of years, and the Silk Road not just demonstrates our trade relations but also our close cultural ties.
The program began with a folk dance from North China, called the Yangge. This upbeat dance expresses the vigour of the boys and girls of this region, among whom there was a playful back and forth. The women were clad in green and pink ensembles, while the men donned red jackets. As the evening progressed, two female groups also performed. The first dance, titled ‘Wandering in the Forest,’ was the traditional dance of the Dai people of China. The women were clad in blue skirts, and held pink Chinese umbrellas. Their elegant moves told the tale of navigating through a forest in the rain. The second performance was the traditional dance of the Man ethnic group of China. The women were clad in the long bright robes of the royal Man women, and displayed their poise through their movements. The concluding dance of the night was performed by a group of men and women. Titled, ‘Drums Praise the Flourishing Age,’ this passionate dance was a symbolic prayer of good fortune for the audience.
Pakistani dancers from the PNCA dance troupe presented three local dances. The Balti dance of ‘Mendoq Tangmo,’ was a flower dance representing the people of Gilgit Baltistan. The men were shown to gather flowers from the mountains, while the girls made flower garlands in the village. When they finally met onstage, they playfully exchanged these flowers. The Khattak martial dance of the Pashtun men of KPK, is a form of the more popular attan, and was performed using handkerchiefs. The dance expressed the vigour of the tribesmen, who historically performed it before leaving for war. The third dance, Bhangra, is the traditional dance of the Punjabi people. A dance to welcome spring and celebrate the rich harvest, it was performed on the beats of the dhol (a double headed drum). The dance was extremely energetic, and the Chinese lady seated next to me felt compelled to praise it.
Four songs were sung during the course of the night. The co-host of the night, Ms. Wei Xin Yan, sang the song, ‘I really want to tell you’. The song is dedicated to the Chinese love for their homeland, and highlights their dreams for a bright future. Two male singers took to the stage and sang, ‘Let’s go, China’ a simple upbeat song, which praises the beautiful landscape of China. A female singer sang the solo, ‘The Thought of You,’ a romantic ballad expressing the happiness of remembering a loved one. A male singer performed, ‘Together,’ a song alluding to the long-time friendship of the fair-weather friends, Pakistan and China.
The evening program also included some acrobatic performances. A female acrobat performed ‘Spring Buds’ in which her complex moves symbolized the sprouting of leaves on a tree. Donned in a pale green bodysuit, she balanced herself on a two-headed stand. At one point, her entire body was up in the air, balanced on a single hand. Another acrobatic performance had the same female acrobat, accompanied by a male acrobat. Titled ‘Hands and minds together’ the performance expressed the reliance and trust between the two. The most remarkable move of all was when the girl’s entire body was balanced upside down on the raised hands of the boy.
The auditorium was jam-packed with both Chinese and Pakistanis , who hummed along to the music and applauded each performance enthusiastically.
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