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Dragon-boat-themed dance drama Loong set for stage this weekend

This weekend, a dragon-boat-themed dance drama Loong is making a comeback to the stage at Guangdong Friendship Theatre.

Premiered in 2021, Loong was the result of a co-production between Guangzhou and Foshan. It tells the story of how Li Jianjian, a female coach, summoned a strong dragon boat team consisting of young people and led the team to compete for China in an international dragon boat racing game.

A stage photo of Loong with the main character Li Jianjian sitting at the center

Shunde, Foshan, known as the "hometown of dragon boats in China," has excellent dragon boat teams that have represented the country and Guangdong Province and won championships in various international and national competitions.

To represent the most authentic dragon boat culture, the creative team of Loong visited Shunde and other places in Guangdong dozens of times to collect materials and stories from local folk songs, museums, and dragon boat associations. The main dancers even went to a local dragon boat training base in Shunde to familiarize themselves with the movements of dragon boat paddling.

A stage photo of Loong featuring dragon boat team members

In terms of music, the traditional Lingnan music used in Loong is blended with a modern twist. "Dragon Boat Race," a folk song written by Cantonese composer He Liutang in the nineteenth century, for example, was recomposed and played with rock instruments and melodies to depict the tense and fierce competition in dragon boat races.

A stage photo of Loong showing the dragon boat race scene

Ever since its premiere, Loong has brought Guangdong’s dragon boat culture into theatres across the country, including the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Last July, it stood out from more than 860 dance acts and 36 stage productions nationwide to be performed as part of the 14th National Dance Exhibition in Inner Mongolia. 

Returning to Guangdong this weekend, Loong is ready to showcase Lingnan dragon boat culture where it is from. 

Reporter | Chen Siyuan

Editor | Nan, James

Photos provided to GDToday

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