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SRILT Enhances Cultural Exchange Through Dance and Theatre Performances

CultureArtSRILT Enhances Cultural Exchange Through Dance and Theatre Performances

The Urumqi Diwopu International Airport in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region became a dance floor as members from South Africa’s Elvis Sibeko Studios and the Xinjiang Art Theater exchanged dance moves. Despite linguistic differences, their passion for dance shone through, underlining the success of the 6th China Xinjiang International Dance Festival.

South African Elvis Sibeko Studios garnered admiration with its breathtaking performance titled “Celebration of Ubuntu.” This dance festival’s prosperity is partly attributed to the foundation of the Silk Road International League of Theatres (SRILT), which was founded under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Established in 2016, SRILT’s mission is to enrich cultural and artistic exchanges globally. As of March 2023, SRILT boasts 155 member units across 45 countries, which includes 83 international and 72 domestic member units, as reported by the China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd (CAEG).

Zhang Li, the CAEG general manager, highlighted that SRILT has been instrumental in fostering a unique brand for cultural exchange. The league has notably supported many Chinese performing art troupes on international tours since its inception. This includes memorable performances such as Yinchuan Theater’s presentation in the US, Guangzhou Ballet’s show in the US, and the Guangzhou Opera House’s opera in Italy. Furthermore, SRILT played a role in facilitating the first-ever performance by a Hong Kong art troupe for a Chinese New Year event in Southeast Asia.

Cumulatively, these endeavors have promoted over ten domestic productions overseas, reaching an audience of over 100,000 people. This has greatly amplified China’s cultural footprint on the global stage.

Conversely, the league has brought in 12 acclaimed plays from its overseas members, treating domestic audiences to nearly 60 performances. Zhang also emphasized SRILT’s commitment to fostering joint productions and facilitating talent exchanges. The China-Italian opera Marco Polo in 2018 is a testament to their dedication. Additionally, talent exchange programs were introduced in 2021 and 2022.

African countries have been an area of focus for SRILT. Member organizations from the continent have engaged in personnel exchange activities, theater management exchanges, and cultural sharing. The Artscape Theatre Centre in South Africa, a notable member, has been actively involved, with plans to invite a Chinese art troupe to a South African art festival in 2024.

Looking ahead, SRILT intends to bolster collaborations with festivals and theaters worldwide. Key collaborations in the pipeline include partnerships with events in France, Italy, and Georgia. The league also envisions fostering deeper ties between theaters in Hong Kong, Macao, and mainland China. A highlight of their efforts was evident at the 6th China Xinjiang International Dance Festival, where the Hong Kong Dance Company’s performance received significant praise.

Ultimately, SRILT aims to instate “sister theaters” among its members to further enhance collaboration in diverse areas. The goal is to create a vibrant, multidimensional platform for cultural exchanges globally.


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