40 performers from China are about to tour the UK having triumphed on stages across the world - but not all is as it seems.
UK Visit of UNESCO Artists for Peace
China Disabled Performing Arts Troupe
Performed by the China Disabled Performing Arts Troupe, My Dream has received critical acclaim from around the world. That the performers are all severely disabled in some way may catch attention, but as the founder of the Troupe says, “despite disabilities we pursue perfection”, and as a performance the show is world class, with several masterpieces of dance and virtuoso musical performances, joined through stunning scenery, costumes and creativity. Each part is impressive, but the sum of the parts is even greater - nothing short of breathtaking. The New York Times called the show “unbelievable”, while CNN said it was “inconceivable”.
Reflection of a Changing China
But there is more to what UNESCO calls “a stunning performance”. The very ideas represented in My Dream are almost a mirror to the aspirations of China as she emerges from over a century of turmoil. Shunning state funding, the China Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe not only push the boundaries of artistic expression, but make a political statement about disabilities – that disability does not mean inability. Beyond all the odds the Troupe has risen over the past twenty years to become China’s most successful performing arts troupe, and the “My Dream Fund for Harmony” has raised over US$1m for world peace activities (see notes).
China’s real transformation
My Dream is emblematic of China’s recent transformation. It reflects what is truly impressive about 30 years of economic reform in China; not futuristic skylines of cities like Shanghai, the thousands of miles of new motorways, nor the hundreds of new state-of-the-art airports. The real marvel of China’s economic growth has been the transformation of people’s minds. For centuries, even millennia, China’s disabled people were hidden from view by families too embarrassed to allow them to be seen. Forty years ago China was gripped by the Cultural Revolution. Buddhists statues were destroyed. But today a new cultural revolution is taking place: today, the most famous dance in China’s is the “One Thousand Hands Buddha” by 21 disabled performers, screened on national television during the Chinese New Year gala show, and winning national awards for artistic creativity.
A new voice for people with disabilities
But the changes are not limited to China itself. The limited notion of what can be achieved by disabled people is being challenged across the world by My Dream, which has toured over 40 countries on six continents. As an export, this is surely one of China’s most important.
1. The China Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe arrive in the UK for a two week tour on May 22nd. Shows in London (Her Majesty's Theatre, 25th May), Croydon (Fairfield Halls, 28th May), Manchester (Opera House, 30th and 31st May), Cardiff (St Davids Hall, 2 June), Gateshead (The Sage, 4th June), Glasgow (Royal Concert Hall, 6 June) and Birmingham (Hippodrome, 8 June).
2. The troupe became famous the world over with it's incomparable masterpiece of dance "One Thousand Hands" performed by 21 hearing impaired dancers. It can be seen at the website http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=447863272762332356...
3. The troupe is available on Friday 23rd May onwards for media.
4. A press conference is being held on Friday 23rd May, for further details, please email email@example.com.
5. The My Dream Fund for Harmony received income from profits of the sale of the My Dream DVD and music collections of My Dream. The Fund aims to financially support projects that “are good for the harmony and happiness of the world”. US$100,000 has been donated to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for research into climate change. US$100,000 to the Sight First Program of Lions Club International for preventing and curing blindness in Africa, and US$50,000 to the Peace Village International in Germany for helping child victims of war and conflict across the world.
6. The Chinese in Britain Forum is a registered charity (1096542) working with and on behalf of the Chinese community in Britain, promoting equality, good citizenship and social harmony.
7. For further details, hi res images, promo dvd, interviews, press tickets, contact Steven Lau on 07782135005 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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