Chinese dance drama Confucius pays homage to Chinese sage

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The acclaimed Chinese dance drama Confucius has wrapped its U.S. debut, with a final performance in Washington DC on Sunday night.

The acclaimed Chinese dance drama Confucius has wrapped its U.S. debut, with a final performance in Washington DC on Sunday night.

The show has earned top praise around the world for its choreography, its costumes, its music and its message.

CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.

CONFUCIUS

CONFUCIUS

The acclaimed Chinese dance drama Confucius has wrapped its U.S. debut, with a final performance in Washington DC on Sunday night.The show has earned top praise around the world for its choreography, its costumes, its music and its message.CGTN's Roee Ruttenberg reports.
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It’s a story that starts some 2,500 years ago, and tells of a Chinese sage named Confucius, as he travels through a war-torn nation, spreading messages of peace and respect. Initially embraced by some, but largely rejected by others.

Confucius wasn’t a politician, but rather a humanist who firmly believed that China’s feuding ruling families should return to a life bound by ethics. Centuries later, in a colorful spectacle on this stage in Washington, dozens of Chinese performers are trying to convey his principles through movement.

“Confucius’ life has been reenacted on the stage many times, through other forms. But this is the first time we do it as a dancing drama,” said Hu Yang, the principal dancer in the show.

The 25-year old Yang plays the famed teacher in the show, called “Image China: Confucius.” Hu said it’s been a challenge, accurately portraying the show’s namesake.

“I think the Chinese have a rich history, going back 5,000 years. That’s something the U.S. doesn’t have. So I imagine ancient Chinese culture must be very mysterious and interesting to the American people,” Yu said.

You could say director Kong Dexin was born to do this show. Quite literally. She’s a 77th-generation direct descendant of Confucius himself.

“In my mind, Confucius was a very optimistic person, and a well-respected teacher. He didn’t achieve much politically. His biggest success was in teaching all of his students and through them, leaving a mark on the whole country,” said Kong Dexin, who is the Director of “Confucius.”

Confucius’ teachings only received official sanctioning in China after the collapse of the Qin Dynasty in 202 BCE. Fast-forward to modern China, and Confucius has become a household name—often exported abroad.

Confucius ultimately died without knowing the impact his teachings would have, not just on China but on much of the rest of the world. It’s a legacy now being carried on not just through words, but through dance.