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China: Dance festival to promote student creativity

Pan says art education is vital for the development of a student. Source: Shutterstock

Students of China’s bustling capital of Beijing will be taking the stage to showcase their dance skills during the Beijing College Student Dance Festival this month, one of the country’s biggest dance gigs, China Daily reports.

Organisers laud the festival as a chance for students to “support and promote” student talent and creativity.

“Art education is vital for the development of a student,” says professor Pan Zhishou of the Beijing Dance Academy, one of the festival’s main organisers.

“It is an exciting and inspiring experience for our students.”

More than 100 Beijing-based universities and colleges are taking part in the annual dance festival, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Beijing Normal University and Renmin University of China.

The event, which will run until June 2, will have 26 public performances of various dance forms, ranging from contemporary to folk and ballet.

One of the works to be performed is titled Dainty Beauty, inspired by local dance and the music of the Dali Bai autonomous prefecture located in the western Yunnan province.

At the helm is Peking University alum in international relations, Tong Jiajia, who used to perform at tthe festival back in 1999.

Tong, now a teacher at the School of Arts of Peking University, will lead two dozen students of different majors at her university in a dance that will merge original moves with a more contemporary take.

“You don’t have to be a dance professional to enjoy and perform dance works onstage. I truly enjoyed myself when I was dancing,” Tong says.

Tong says it’s also a way to explore what it’s like to be a dance professional and explore different styles of dance.

High school students practice yoga at a schoolyard in Chongqing, China as they prepare for the ‘gaokao’. Source: Reuters.

China has long grappled with criticisms on its education system, particularly its rigid methods of learning and excessive bureaucracy. As the festival takes place, high school students are preparing for the “gaokao”, the national college entrance famed for its emphasis on rote learning and hobbling creativity, which will be held next month.

Art education, including dance, usually takes the backseat to these major exams, but the country has recently taken steps to beef up its arts programmes at all levels, with an aim for a major breakthrough by 2018.

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