Acrobatic drama debuts at China Shanghai International Arts Festival
The Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe's original acrobatic drama "Tianshan Snow" made its debut at the 22nd China Shanghai International Arts Festival on Sunday (November 5). It is the first new showcase of a Shanghai-style acrobatic drama at the festival in four years.
The around two-hour-long drama features 13 lavish scenes to portray how people in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have made joint efforts to build and develop Xinjiang over the past 70 years. The drama also depicts Shanghai's long-term assistance and support to contribute to poverty alleviation and the improvement of people's livelihoods in Xinjiang.
Since the drama's trial performance in May, the crew have made significant modifications and adjustments in many aspects to provide the audience with an immersive visual experience, including the story structure, character setting, stage art, music, and multimedia elements.
In addition to presenting complicated acrobatic stunts such as high-wire walking and aerial hoops, the performers also needed to hone their acting and dancing skills to wow the audience with the impressive characters of the drama.
Acrobatics is a traditional Chinese art form with a long history and profound cultural heritage. The drama marks a transition and breakthrough of local acrobats from traditional acrobatics acts to acrobatic dramas.
The drama's creation was also inspired by a real-life event. In 2010, the Shanghai Circus School was commissioned by the local government and art theater of Xinjiang to open a Xinjiang class in Shanghai. Over the years, the class has professionally trained more than 50 acrobatic students from Xinjiang.
According to Yu Yigang, art director of the drama "Tianshan Snow", the program supported by the China National Arts Fund is a new effort from the Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe in the incubation and development of the genre of acrobatic drama, following the success of "Dawn in Shanghai."
Following two performances at Shangyin Opera House on Sunday and Monday, the play will tour to cities and counties of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region later this month.