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Getting into the Swing
Xinjiang dons its dancing shoes for an upbeat international festival
By Li Fangfang | Web Exclusive

The Fifth China Xinjiang International Dance Festival is announced at a news briefing in Beijing on May 24 (LI FANGFANG)

Nowadays, a tour to Xinjiang extends beyond sightseeing around the region's bountiful natural treasures to experiencing the rich artistic heritage of local ethnic minorities. Accordingly, the Fifth China Xinjiang International Dance Festival, which is set to kick off on July 20, provides a perfect excuse to visit northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region this summer.

With some 60 shows spread across 17 days, this year's edition of the biennial festival lays on a veritable feast for the senses replete with performances ranging from hors d'oeuvres such as Ukrainian ballet and Polish Jazz to entrées such as an ethnic Tajik gala and classical Chinese dance dramas performed by the nation's top dance troupes from Beijing, Shanghai, Tibet, Xinjiang and elsewhere. To add icing to the cake, the festival showcases high-level performances at substantially lower prices than audiences would normally pay.

Xinjiang is renowned as a crossroads between East and West by virtue of its status as a major entrepôt of trade along the ancient Silk Road routes. Under the theme "Chinese Dream and Colorful Silk Road", dance ensembles from Asia, Africa and Europe as well as from China will participate in the event this year.

"The festival is a good communication platform for countries along the Belt and Road," said Erkin Tuniyaz, Vice President of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, at a news briefing held in Beijing on May 24 by the festival's organizers and sponsors – China's Ministry of Culture, State Council Information Office and the Government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Over the past decade since the festival was initiated in 2008, local Xinjiang people have benefited greatly from the event. The high-level artistic performances have nurtured their understanding about modern dance and how it can be combined with traditional forms.

"I bring my family to watch the performances at each festival," said Tuniyaz." The audience stands to express appreciation at the end of each show, which leaves a deep impression on the performers from the various [other] countries."

Alongside the dance shows, traditional opera and painting exhibitions will also be staged.

Copyedited by Chris Surtees

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