A dance drama featuring Chinese father and son who set sails on the ancient Maritime Silk Road centuries ago debuted in Southeast Asia on Tuesday with the expectations to boost the Belt and Road Initiative in the region.
Thousands of audience watched the dance drama "Dream of the Maritime Silk Road" at a performance hall in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, the first leg of the tour in members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Singapore and Indonesia.
The drama, through distinctively Chinese classical dance, tells a story in Quanzhou port, China's southeastern Fujian province 800 years ago. The captain of a commercial fleet sets sail on the Maritime Silk Road under the invitation of a Persian prince but was killed in storm when trying to protect his crew, leaving behind his wife and a son in cradle. His son followed his step to become a sailor too after he grew up.
The two-hour drama highlights a prosperous Quanzhou port and friendship forged among people along the Maritime Silk Road when they seek common prosperity and happiness, with cultural elements from China and other Maritime Silk Road countries.
The drama was performed around the globe including at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Chen Qiuping, head of Department of Culture of Fujian province, said the drama was well received by the Malaysian audience.
"The performance is indeed enlightening," said Bong Hon Liong, president of Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce. "It reminded us of the importance of openness and the friendship among people along the Maritime Silk Road."
Xia Menglong, a university student who is on an exchange program in Malaysia, said he was surprised to find many Chinese traditions were well preserved and observed in Malaysia.
Huang Huikang, Chinese ambassador to Malaysia, expected the show to boost cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Meanwhile, officials believed such event would help promote the Belt and Road Initiative, namely the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in Southeast Asia.
The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is aimed at reviving the ancient trade routes that span Asia, Africa and Europe.
Chen said the performance in Malaysia was of significance as it was an important country along the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. He hoped the tour could help boost cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.