In cooperation with Xinhua
MILAN, Italy, May 30 (Xinhua) -- What stage could have been better than the world stage at Expo Milano 2015 to celebrate the cultural exchange between the East and West and preaching traditional Chinese values of creating a harmonious world on a new Silk Road?
The ballet drama Marco Polo, co-produced by National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and Song and Dance Troupe of PLA General Political Department, was performed for the first time outside China on Saturday to mark the opening of the Beijing Week at the Italian world exposition.
Italian traveler Marco Polo marveled at Chinese culture along the Silk Road and we are doing the same along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road," NCPA Vice President Li Zhixiang told Xinhua shortly before the performance kicked off at the Expo's auditorium.
The "Belt and Road" initiatives were introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping to boost infrastructure building, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe.
"Dance is a language understood by everybody in the world and we are confident that ballet drama Marco Polo will achieve remarkable success among the international audience," Li went on saying.
The show is the story about an Italian young man of the modern time who is reading "Travels of Marco Polo" in Venice and is absorbed in the oriental legends until he dreams himself to be Marco Polo and travels into ancient China.
"We have wanted to show how the relations between the Eastern and Western civilizations started many centuries ago," Chief Director of the show Chen Weiya said. Universal love and China's pursuit for harmony and peace are central concepts in the ballet drama, he underlined.
Every piece of art, Chen noted, is rooted in real life, thus it is the most natural thing to imagine that Marco Polo, who spent many years working in the court of Kublai Khan, Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1271-1368 ), had the experience of falling in love with a Chinese beauty.
The ballet drama features a princess who comes to Marco Polo with a wave of love and respect in her heart aroused by his courage and justice. The common belief in peace shortens the distance between the two, and love grows in their hearts, Chen, who was also the deputy chief director of the opening ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, explained to Xinhua.
The conflict of the Marco Polo ballet drama reaches its climax when it comes to the choice between war and peace, and China's pursuit for harmony shines through the decision of the two lovers who sacrifice their own happiness for the peace in the world.
Zhang Qianyi, composer of the show's soundtrack and President of the Song and Dance Troupe of PLA General Political Department, told Xinhua that the music of the ballet drama is a combination of western music, court music of the Yuan dynasty, ethic music of the Mongol and folk music of southern China.
In fact exchanges between the East and the West rise again in the show's epilogue, when it is modern time again in the house of Marco Polo in Venice, and in the morning the sun rises to lighten a fresh journey to the East along a new Silk Road.