Dance drama commemorates Chinese People’s Volunteers

Promotional material for Ying Xiong Er Nü (lit: Heroes and Heroines) Photo: Courtesy of the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater

 A Chinese dance drama about the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPVs) during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53), also known as the Korean War, was shown at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center from Thursday to Saturday, following a series of cultural activities to salute the brave Chinese soldiers who fought in the war.

Based on the well-known film of the same name, Ying Xiong Er Nü (lit: Heroes and Heroines), and outstanding Chinese writer Ba Jin's novel Reunion, the play commemorates the 70th anniversary of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. 

On October 25, 1950, the CPVs fought its first battle after entering North Korea, lifting the curtain on the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea with a glorious victory. In 1951, the Chinese government decided that October 25 would be the anniversary of the war.

Just before the 70th anniversary on Sunday, the dance drama debuted at the Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center on Thursday and ended on Saturday.

The play tells the story of Chinese soldier Wang Cheng. After Wang sacrifices his life on the battlefield, his younger sister Wang Fang insists on fighting in the war and finally reunites with her adoptive father and biological father on the battlefield.

The dance drama depicts the cold winter and cruel events of the Korean War as the heroes who fought against the US to aid North Korea experienced extremely harsh conditions.

More than 300 performers and other staff members from China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater joined in the creation of the play. Qiao Yu, the 93-year-old former head of the theater, wrote an introduction for the dance drama.

The music in the play includes patriotic songs such as "My Motherland," which was first presented in the form of a symphonic chorus.

During the play's debut on Thursday, more than 100 CPVs veterans who had been granted memorial medals went to watch the show with 40 medical workers from Peking University First Hospital who fought on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the organizers, these medical workers were invited because their spirit in their fight against the coronavirus was similar to that of the CPVs in their fight during the war. These medical workers threw themselves into the battle against an invisible enemy to save other people's lives, just like the CPV soldiers did 70 years ago on the battlefield to guard their motherland.

After the performance, many audience members shared their thoughts in reviews on social media. 

"Commemorating the war is to cherish peace; commemorating heroes is to protect justice; heroes are the most shining coordinates of a nation. Every sacrifice of the martyrs and every tribute to these heroes are for a new start," one reviewer wrote.  

"I hope that the spirit of the CPVs can be inherited by the next generation," Xu Ning, director of the dance drama, told media. He added that the Chinese nation honors and possesses many heroes and even during peacetime, heroism is still necessary.