HAVANA, March 17 (Xinhua) -- A troupe of Chinese Quyi artists performed here for the first time on Saturday, bringing the ancient Chinese folk art to local audiences.
Members of the Chinese Quyi Artists Association (CQAA) performed in Havana for students at the local Confucius Institute who are interested in Asian art forms and for Chinese expatriates working or studying in Cuba.
The presentation, led by President of the CQAA, actor and comedian Jiang Kun, was part of the China Quyi Art World Tour, a nonprofit cultural exchange project launched in 2015 by the association.
Saturday's show featured Jiang as part of a comedy duo with fellow performer Dai Zhicheng. Jiang also served as the host for the show, which included another comedy duo comprised of Jin Yan and Ma Chunran. Both skits were well-received and much applauded.
Besides, singers Zhao Haiyan and Zhang Lili, as well as musician Yang Bing who expertly played the traditional Chinese bowed string instrument jinghu, received standing ovations.
Shortly before the show, the Chinese artists toured the headquarters of the Confucius Institute in Havana.
"Through this project we want people to understand the spirit and values of this artistic tradition, which has deep roots and is a very important part of traditional Chinese culture," said Jiang, the eighth president of the CQAA.
The troupe aimed to promote the understanding of Quyi abroad and meanwhile remind overseas Chinese not to forget their traditional roots, said Qu Huajiang, general secretary of the CQAA.
As the headquarters of the Confucius Institute is located in Havana's Chinatown, Jiang said, stories of the two countries have merged together since the arrival and settlement of the first Chinese immigrants.
To dig deeper into the popular Chinese culture in Cuba, the CQAA will cooperate with the Confucius Institute by sending association volunteers to this island country, Jiang said.
"Associations or visitors from China are welcome to share with us part of that culture, because it has an extraordinary relevance and the goal of our institute is to spread Chinese culture and language," Director of the Confucius Institute Elisa Cabrera told Xinhua.
The institute has excellent teachers of the Chinese language, "but concerning culture, we sometimes lack people who can bring us the real thing -- what is in the blood and experienced every day by the Chinese people -- to share it with our students and our community," Cabrera said.
So far, Chinese Quyi artists have performed in more than 20 countries, including the United States, France, Germany, Chile, Peru, Spain and Mexico.
The Quyi art, dating back to more than 2,000 years ago, has now more than 400 variants such as folk singing, narrative storytelling, Xiangsheng (aka Crosstalk Comedy) and Kuaiban (aka clapper talk), which are all popular among the Chinese.