Day By Day

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Return to China -- Part 24, Impression Lijiang

The next morning we set off on a long drive to Lijiang, the cultural center of the Naxi minority. I slept through most of the trip and woke in time to join the group at a performance of "Impression Lijiang" a show featuring local cultures produced and originally directed by Zhang Yimou, one of the world's greatest film directors [you probably have seen his work -- he directed the opening ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics]. I had seen, and greatly enjoyed several of his films and on an earlier trip had seen and been impressed by another of his outdoor productions -- "Impression West Lake" so I was really stoked for this performance.

Like all of Zhang's productions there were lots of synchronized mass formations moving in time to languid ethereal music, punctuated by percussive drum interludes. It was staged in an immense amphitheater set against a spectacular background of snow-covered peaks. Unfortunately, it was raining the day we attended and the mountains were obscured by heavy clouds. Too bad, they would have added a lot to the presentation. There was no narrative line to the show -- it was simply a set of numbers performed by dancers dressed in traditional ethnic garb.

Yep, horses on stage. Lots of them, ridden by Chinese cowboys [or should that be yakboys?].

And a cast of more than 500 colorfully costumed singers and dancers.

At several points performers came up into the audience and we got to see them close-up.

Women sitting near me were in agreement that this guy was hot.

Because of the rain most of the audience was wearing raincoats. Quite colorful!

 I really enjoyed the show, but the constant drizzle was not good for my cold. By the time we got back to the buses I was really tired. I settled back in my seat with a pack of tissues, closed my eyes, and drifted into sleep as we took off for our next destination.

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