Artists from China's Xiamen Little Egret Folk Dance Group perform during the Afro-Chinese Arts and Folklore Festival in Aswan, Egypt, on Oct. 28, 2019. At ancient Philae Temple on an island surrounded by the Nile River waters and rocky hills in Upper Egypt's Province of Aswan, the ongoing fourth edition of the Afro-Chinese Arts and Folklore Festival has kicked off to boost interaction between troupes from 30 states through art and culture. (Xinhua/Wu Huiwo)
by Mahmoud Fouly, Wu Danni
ASWAN, Egypt, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- At ancient Philae Temple on an island surrounded by the Nile River waters and rocky hills in Upper Egypt's Province of Aswan, the ongoing fourth edition of the Afro-Chinese Arts and Folklore Festival has kicked off to boost interaction between troupes from 30 states through art and culture.
Getting there on motorboats, the visitors were received at the gate of Philae Temple decorated by Chinese red lanterns and flags of participating countries in the event that is being held from Oct. 27 to 31.
"It was such a challenge to hold the festival in Aswan in several venues including Philae Temple, as it has always been held in the capital Cairo since it was first launched in 2016," Soheir Abdel-Qader, founder and chief of the festival, told Xinhua.
She added that the attendance of Egyptian ministers, officials, lawmakers, artists and movie stars, as well as the cultural counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Egypt, is a sign of success of the event.
Dressed in traditional Chinese red costumes, China's Xiamen Little Egert Folk Dance Group amazed the audience with their performance.
Lin Naizhen, leader of the Chinese troupe, said that her group is "the first professional folk dance art group in China," noting that they have performed in five continents about 46 times.
"It's an honor to be here in Egypt for the first time to participate in this festival, which is an opportunity for us to let more people understand the Chinese culture through our distinctive dances," Lin said.
Sun Bo, director of Art Department of Xiamen Cultural and Tourism Bureau, described the troupe as "one of the business cards of Xiamen," noting that its growing popularity has reached many African states too.
"I am impressed by many African countries participating in the festival. I have seen their enthusiastic performances and I hope to have more opportunities to learn from each other," Sun told Xinhua.
The second day of the festival also witnessed shows of various African troupes, including Aswan Folk Troupe from Egypt, Ahalina Troupe from Sudan, Rockies Troupe from Uganda, Afro-Nation Troupe from DR Congo, Rose D'Algerie from Algeria and others.
Khaled Houbad from Rose D'Algerie said that it was the fourth time for his troupe to take part in the Afro-Chinese Arts and Folklore Festival, noting that they were met by hospitality and warm welcome in Egypt.
"The idea of Afro-Chinese cultural interaction is very good, because there is some kind of harmony between Asian and African cultures in general," said the Algerian troupe member.
Before one of the shows, Osubo Julius, a 16-year-old member of Uganda's Rockies Troupe, was dressed like a primitive shirtless African hunter or warrior with an attractive outfit full of accessories while his lower body was covered with a material similar to animal skin.
"This is my first time to join the Afro-Chinese festival. I love it and I do enjoy it so much because I meet here a variety of people from different places and cultures, which is very good to build relationships between peoples," Julius said.
Egyptian actress Rania Farid Shawky, one of the artists who attended the festival, said that she would like to visit China soon "to see this giant country that has impressed the world with its development and culture."
"Art has no boundaries, languages or nationalities for it gathers all peoples. As an artist, I've been interested to come and see this gathering and the fantastic arts and shows of Chinese and African troupes," the Egyptian actress told Xinhua.
The festival didn't only attract audience from Egypt, China and African states, but tourists in Egypt's monument-rich Aswan enjoyed the shows as well.
"It's wonderful to see all these dancers from Africa and China in a very beautiful mix of different people in the world," said Asun Gomez, a lady from Spain who loved the festival that coincided with her one-week visit to Egypt.
"They look so harmonious and united while displaying their folkloric dances," the Spanish tourist added.