Guangdong Song & Dance Ensemble Returns to the U.S. With Award-Winning Chinese Dance-Drama DRAGON BOAT RACING

Guangdong Song & Dance Ensemble Returns to the U.S. With Award-Winning Chinese Dance-Drama DRAGON BOAT RACING

At The Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater February 2 - 4 and
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Merriam Theater February 7 and 8

This Epic Ballet Features Passionate Lovers, Sweeping Music, and Breathtaking Stage Wizardry
The New York Times calls it "A Story Sea of Love and Song"

DRAGON BOAT RACING, an award-winning Chinese dance-drama performed by the Guangdong Song & Dance Ensemble, returns to the United States for two limited engagements at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater (Washington, DC) February 2-4 and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Merriam Theater (Philadelphia, PA) February 7 and 8. This epic ballet tells the story of the creation of one of the most iconic and enduring pieces of Cantonese music. Set in 1930s China against the backdrop of the Japanese occupation, DRAGON BOAT RACING follows two lovers whose passion for each other is equaled only by their passion for music. It tells the story of how one of the finest and most famous Cantonese compositions became a musical theme that inspired an entire nation.

The 2014 Chinese premiere of DRAGON BOAT RACING achieved such vast popularity among audiences that it was considered to be a cultural phenomenon throughout China. In 2016, the production was named a Wenhua-Award winner. This prestigious national award is presented every three years by the Chinese government to recognize the highest level of staged performing arts productions presented by the Ministry of Culture. DRAGON BOAT RACING had its US premiere in the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in January 2016. In its review, The New York Times refereed to the show as "A Story Sea of Love and Song."

DRAGON BOAT RACING blends traditional Cantonese music and history with state-of-the-art theatrical artistry. Written by Tang Dong with music by Du Ming, DRAGON BOAT RACING is directed and choreographed by Zhou Liya and Han Zhen. The cast of DRAGON BOAT RACING includes Li Xing (He Liunian), Li Yanchao (Xu Chunling), Sun Ran (He Shaoyan), Wang Minrui (Pan Hongying), Qi Qi (Xu Chunling's father), Li Chaoyi (the Japanese Colonel), and an ensemble of 38 dancers. The production features scenic design by Qin Liyun and Ma Jun, lighting design by Liu Fengshu and Qin Nianfeng, costume design by Yang Donglin and style design by Jia Lei.

DRAGON BOAT RACING is a part of China Arts and Entertainment Group's (CAEG) Image China cultural exchange initiative, a program that introduces traditional and contemporary Chinese performing arts to audiences around the world. Since its inception in 2009, Image China has presented works at venues across the globe, including Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center, and performance venues in Australia and throughout Europe.

Wang Xiuqin, Executive Director of CAEG, said "We are thrilled to present this production, which showcases so beautifully the Guangdong Song & Dance Ensemble's theatrical artistry, as well as a vital facet of Chinese artistic culture. We hope DRAGON BOAT RACING will both enlighten and enchant American audiences."

Guangdong Song & Dance Ensemble, the successor of the former South China Art Troupe formed in July 1949, is a state-owned unit directly under the Department of Culture of Guangdong Province. The ensemble is comprised of nine sections that include the dance drama company, opera company, stage production center, creation department, performance department and business department. With a history of over six decades, Guangdong Song & Dance Ensemble has nurtured and witnessed the success of many Chinese virtuosos. As the top arts company in Guangdong Province, the ensemble has visited many countries and regions across the five continents and thus promoted cultural exchange between China and other countries around the world. It is dedicated to the creation and performance of high-quality theatrical productions and has won many national and international awards, including the Wenhua Award presented by the China Ministry of Culture, the Lotus Award of the National Dance Competition, and the Special Prize of the Delphi Art Contest.

The China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG) is the first large state-owned cultural enterprise in China. It was founded in 2004 with the merger of the China Performing Arts Agency (CPAA) and the China International Exhibition Agency (CIEA). Adhering to the vision of "making the world a stage for China and China a stage for the world," CAEG has built a national network covering the whole arts industry, and become more and more influential both in and out of China. During their 50-year history, CPAA and CIEA have gained international acclaim by undertaking thousands of governmental cultural exchange projects and commercial stage performances and arts exhibitions both at home and abroad, such as the opera Turandot on its original site in the Forbidden City of Beijing, Shaolin Warriors, ERAIntersection with Time, and the Chinese language version of classic musicals Mamma Mia and Cats. Serving as a bridge of cultural exchanges between China and other countries thousands of shows, exhibitions and other cultural activities are presented in hundreds of cities in dozens of countries and regions attracting audiences of over 10 million annually.

The running time for DRAGON BOAT RACING is 120 minutes including one intermission. Tickets are on sale now. "With no spoken words or singing in the production, it is punctuated by a series of stunning set pieces, each more memorable than the last, that feature absolutely beautiful ballet-esque dancing and sometimes pantomimed movement that is so smooth and fluid as to feel almost animated." "Do yourself a favor and go see Dragon Boat Racing...It's a remarkable, highly professional, well-made, well-performed show." Theater Pizzazz, January 2016

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Eisenhower Theater
2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20566 | 202-467-4600 | 1-800-444-1324 |
TTY: 202-416-8524
Friday, February 2, 2018 | 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 3, 2018 | 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 4, 2018 | 2:00 PM
Tickets: $30-$110

The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Merriam Theater
300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 | 215-893-1999 | TTY: 215-875-7633
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Thursday, February 8, 2018 | 7:30 PM
Tickets: $25-$80

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