by Mahmoud Fouly
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which represents China as the guest of honor of the 15th International Summer Festival held from July 10 to August 26 in Egypt's seaside historical city of Alexandria, gave an enchanting performance on Monday.
The Chinese shows presented various performances of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang, with the colorful traditional outfits and oriental music that appealed so much to the Egyptian audience in Bibliotheca Alexandria, one of the largest hosting venues of cultural and artistic activities in the Middle East.
"The shows were really so beautiful. It's my first time to see such beautiful performances. We hope they hold such activities more often here in Egypt," said Amal Ali, an employee in her early 50s.
The Chinese shows included Uygur, Tajik, Kirgiz, Kazak, Mongolian and Han group dances, in a style referred to as "DanSinging in the Air" for combining both dancing and singing, in addition to male and female solo singing mostly in local Chinese language and some in Arabic.
Besides the group dancing and singing, acrobatic performances also drew cheers and applause from the audience.
"I really enjoyed the shows. Such events bring the peoples of Egypt and China closer and urge some Egyptians to start learning Chinese and know Chinese friends," Ashraqat Hamdy, a junior college student at Alexandria University, told Xinhua after watching the performances.
For Ahmed Mostafa, a sound engineer, photographer and tango dancer, he watched the shows attentively with an artistic eye and said they were inspiring for the Egyptian dancers, musicians and artists who attended the festivity.
"I felt the music was similar to our oriental one. The singing performance was so close to ours and they played an Egyptian song so beautifully. The acrobatic shows were so stunning too," said the young man.
The Egyptian attendees said they felt the performances, the musical instruments exhibition and the photo gallery took them to China while they are at home and made them curious to learn more about China.
"The shows were various, reflecting the variety of the Chinese culture. In addition, they even performed some Egyptian songs, which enriched the festival and made us feel that the human civilization is one," said Morad Abbas, head of Arabic department of the Faculty of Arts at Alexandria University.
Home to 23 million people, Xinjiang is China's largest autonomous region, occupying about one sixth of the total area of China and gathering 47 ethnic groups in the world's most populous country.
One of the most attractive shows for the Egyptian audience was the "flowery belt" Uygur humorous dance that portrays young men trying to express their feelings to pretty girls through a token of love.
"When I appeared on stage after four male dancers, I was stunned by the cheers applause of the Egyptian audience. It's a pleasant surprise and I am happy they loved our performances," said the show star Omanguri Stick, who has been doing this performance for 25 years.
"It's very important for an artist to perform in different countries and communicate with different cultures and peoples. It's been a pleasure to be here and represent the Chinese culture to Egypt," the artist told Xinhua after the performance.
In a nearby hall, the Chinese cultural activities in the festival included "2017 Experience China," an exhibition and photo gallery exploring the lifestyle, traditions and history of Xinjiang and West China.
Inaugurated by Alexandria Governor Mohamed Sultan and China's Consul General in Alexandria Xu Nanshan, the exhibition displays unique pieces of Xinjiang's traditional music instruments as well as a photo gallery registering almost every life activity in the region.
"Such events are important for cultural exchange and enhancing cultural ties with the Chinese side," Sultan told Xinhua when touring the exhibition.
He described the relations between Egypt and China as "very strong," stressing his country's keenness to deepen ties with China.
Chen Dongyun, cultural counselor of the Chinese embassy and director of the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo, said the event seeks to introduce Xinjiang cultures to the Egyptian people and widen the friendship base between the two nations at the popular level.
"We hope that cooperation through China's Belt and Road Initiative in economy, technology, education and culture elevates Egypt-China ties to a level that suits their comprehensive strategic partnership," Chen told Xinhua.