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Foreign troupes take part in Shanxi festivities

China Daily | Updated: 2024-03-01 07:41
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TAIYUAN — Early on the morning of this year's Chinese Lantern Festival, which fell on Saturday, a folk ensemble from France stood out among the groups of performers waiting for the two-day celebration to begin on the illuminated streets of Qingxu county, Shanxi province.

"After receiving an invitation from Qingxu county, we can't wait to experience the festive atmosphere," said Cathy Bravo, a member of Birousans, the French folk performance group.

In an effort to promote cultural exchange, Qingxu invited folk groups like Birousans from France, Italy and Kazakhstan to celebrate this year's Lantern Festival in the county, alongside local performers and groups from all over China.

Birousans, established in 1921 and based in France's Pyrenees Mountains, is a group known for its distinctive songs, dances and costumes.

"The attire we're wearing today represents our traditional festival clothing. It's typically worn during significant moments," said Audrey Fourtane, another member of Birousans. "As far as I know, the Lantern Festival is also an important day for the Chinese people. We are honored to celebrate this festive occasion here with our Chinese friends."

The ensemble's dance style is lively with a strong sense of rhythm. The musicians play traditional music from the central Pyrenees on instruments such as drums, oboes and accordions to accompany the dancers, who wear long, pointed wooden shoes and folk costumes.

"Our performance today showcases what France was like in the late 19th century and early 20th century," said Laurent Mayer, the group's leader."Being able to participate in the Lantern Festival performance here fills us with excitement, and we also feel the warmth and enthusiasm of the Chinese people."

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France. The two countries are working together to host celebrations throughout the year and have launched the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism, promoting people-to-people cultural exchanges between the two sides.

Many members of Birousans have come to China for the first time. They have spent their visit enjoying folk performances from all over the country and savoring various northern Chinese cuisines, giving them a deeper understanding of China.

Bravo said she first visited China 20 years ago and is amazed with the "remarkable changes" the nation has undergone.

"If there are future opportunities, I eagerly look forward to spending more time in China and experiencing more of its rich culture," she said.



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