Feature: Organizers of Lebanese festivals keen to host more performances from China

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-02 20:49:55|Editor: mingmei
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by Dana Halawi

BEIRUT, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon and China have, in the past few years, increased remarkably their cultural exchange, especially when it comes to mutual visits by artists between the two countries.

In 2014, famous Chinese pianist Lang Lang performed in Byblos International Festival.

In 2013, the China National Acrobatic Troupe performed.

Beiteddine Art Festival brought in 2000 to its audience the "Wheel of Life" by Shaolin monks from China's Henan Province with their great martial arts performances.

Meanwhile, Lebanon's Caracalla Dance Theater, one of the most reputable theaters in the world, played at least five of its art works in China in the past few years, while it is also aiming at presenting the Chinese dance drama "the Railway to Tibet" to the Lebanese audience next year.

The Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Wang Kejian has on many occasions emphasized the importance of partnership between Lebanon and China under the Belt and Road Initiative, assuring that the two countries agreed to increase efforts to boost cultural exchange.

One of the most important projects to be implemented in this regard in Lebanon is the establishment of a conservatory funded by the Chinese government.

Lebanese Culture Minister Mohammad Daoud has previously expressed Lebanon's keenness to increase cultural ties with China.

However, some Lebanese renowned artists and organizers of festivals told Xinhua that they have met some obstacles to further enhance mutual visits between the two countries.

Ivan Caracalla, head of Lebanon's Caracalla Dance Theater, said that budget is a problem for some festivals.

"The Lebanese government is cutting budget for festivals, so the organizers are having difficulty to create festivals. The festival organizers who introduce foreign artists to Lebanon have to pay a lot of taxes, not to forget the cost of visas and other expenses," he said.

Another problem is the absence of direct flights between the two countries, he added.

Providing guidance for festivals' organizers in Lebanon and China is important. Caracalla said that China has on many occasions invited Lebanese festival organizers to China for more insight about Chinese different arts performances.

He suggested organizing a Chinese Week in Lebanon to create awareness about the Chinese culture and art for the Lebanese audience and vice versa.

Nadine Kain, president of Sidon International Festivals, said that many organizers of Lebanese festivals do not know much about Chinese artists.

"We would like to see more of Chinese artists in Lebanon and we are willing to go for this initiative. We only need proper guidance," she said.

Naji Baz, Byblos Festival organizer, said there should be direct contact with China for help in identifying the most renowned artists who can come and succeed in Lebanon.

He added that previous experience with the Chinese artists was very good as classic artists have had an audience of 2,000 people, but the Chinese pop artists are not well known in Lebanon.

For her part, Hala Chahine, organizer of Beiteddine festival, voiced concerns about language barriers.

"Language is of course a big obstacle. This is why there should be more visual performances, such as photography exhibitions, as well as musical instruments performances, like piano and orchestras," she said.