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Dancers honor composer
From:ChinaDaily  |  2021-12-14 08:18

Work pays tribute to inspirational co-creator of Yellow River Cantana, Chen Nan reports.

In 1939, composer Xian Xinghai (1905-45) created the legendary Yellow River Cantata, along with poet Guang Weiran. The work fueled patriotism during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45).

Premiered in the same year in Yan'an, Shaanxi province, a Communist revolutionary base, the work has been performed for decades by musicians and is still a firm favorite among audiences.

"Whenever the music of Yellow River Cantata is up, we feel the strong emotions and get inspired," says Xiao Xiangrong, a renowned dancer-choreographer.

In 2019, after traveling to the Xian Xinghai Museum in Macao, where the composer was born, Xiao was inspired by Xian's life story and wanted to create a dance drama paying tribute to the composer.

By working with veteran choreographer and scriptwriter Xu Rui, vice-president of the Beijing Dance Academy, Xiao fulfilled his ideas with a new dance drama, titled Xian Xinghai, which will be premiered at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

Coproduced by Ningbo Performance and Arts Group, the dance drama will be staged at the NCPA from Thursday to Dec 22.

"When I visited Xian Xinghai Museum in Macao, I was impressed by his life story. He is a legendary composer who created lots of music during his short lifetime. He was also a man, husband and father, who went through struggles during the time of war," says Xiao.

Born in Macao, Xian traveled to Singapore with his mother, a widowed housemaid. His primary schoolteachers realized his talent and introduced him to the world of music. In 1918, Xian went to Guangzhou to study violin at Sun Yat-sen University and later furthered his study in Beijing and Shanghai before going to the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris in 1930.

"As a student, Xian was poor and he did various jobs to make his ends meet," says Xiao, adding that he learned about Xian's early life from the museum in Macao.