Origin of famous patriotic song told in dance drama

Ma Yue
"Ode to the Motherland," a dance drama dedicated to composer Wang Xin, is being staged at SAIC Shanghai Culture Square this weekend.
Ma Yue
SSI ļʱ

"Ode to the Motherland," a dance drama dedicated to composer Wang Xin, is being staged at SAIC Shanghai Culture Square this weekend.

Wang (1918-2007), a Jiangsu Province native, was a student of Xian Xinghai, who was among the earliest Chinese composers to draw on Western classical music.

"Ode to the Motherland" is Wang's most famous work which was created about one year after the founding of the People's Republic of China. The inspiration came when Wang saw a sea of fluttering red flags at Beijing's Tian'anmen Square during the preparations for the first National Day celebration.

Origin of famous patriotic song told in dance drama
Ti Gong

"Ode to the Motherland" is staged at SAIC Shanghai Culture Square.

The music composition and lyrics of "Ode to the Motherland" were officially published on September 15, 1951. The song then became popular, and has been honored as "the second national anthem" of the country.

The dance drama, presented by Wuxi Song and Dance Theater, reviews the creative process of the song, as well as Wang's life as a composer and musician.

"Wang was a common person like us. There was actually not many 'highlights' through his life," said Wang Ge, director of the dance drama. "It's an amiable production telling stories close to the general public."

Wang Ge and his team gave the composer's realistic story a humorous approach, arranging amusing details through the show.

"During preparation, we visited the composer's hometown and were told by his son that the composer was a humorous person," said the director. "We decided to presented the patriotic-themed story in a light and humorous way, which can also involve younger audiences better."

Origin of famous patriotic song told in dance drama
Ti Gong

The composer's realistic stories are given a humorous approach in the dance drama.

Young star dancer Liu Jia plays the lead role of Wang Xin.

"Unlike the folk dances that convey heavy emotions in historical themes, 'Ode to the Motherland' has a realistic theme and the difficulty lies in the molding of the character," said Liu, who learned to play piano when preparing for his role.

"I try to imagine the living status of Wang, who submerges himself in the world of music. That's the devotion and pureness of an artist that I want to present," he added.

"Ode to the Motherland" is part of the ongoing "Show Life in Shanghai" performance series presented by the Center for China Shanghai International Arts Festival.

Origin of famous patriotic song told in dance drama
Ti Gong

The performance stars Liu Jia and Qin Xi.

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