Sa Dingding in line for World Music Award
By John Sexton

China's folk fusion queen Sa Dingding has been nominated for a prestigious World Music award by BBC Radio. The multi-talented singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and choreographer is expected to attend the awards ceremony, which will take place in London on April 10.

In a busy spring and summer promoting her album Alive, Sa Dingding has two more UK dates planned. She is in the line-up for the July 25 ­ 27 World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival in Malmesbury, Wiltshire and is also scheduled to perform at a Promenade concert in London's Royal Albert Hall. The Promenade concerts, usually known as the Proms, are Britain's leading classical music festival.

Sa Dingding's striking performances combine Buddhist influences with elements from China's indigenous minority cultures. Born to a Han Chinese father and a Mongolian mother, the twenty-five year old sings in Mandarin, Tibetan, Sanskrit and Lahu (a language spoken in south-west China's Yunnan Province) as well as penning lyrics in her own, invented language. She plays several classical Chinese instruments including the zheng, a type of zither, and the horse-head fiddle.

Critics see Sa Dingding's creative combination of traditional music and electronic beats as a welcome change from the usual Chinese fare of derivative pop jingles and bland hip-hop. She may be poised to make the elusive leap from national fame to international stardom using her British dates as a springboard.

Sa Dingding



Chinese Acrobatic Ballet Swan Lake

Wandering by the lake in a forest, a beautiful girl is suddenly taken away by a ferocious black hawk and is turned into a white swan. A prince, who dreamed of her horrible experience , embarked on a long, arduous journey to rescue her and finally gains her love.

"Swan Lake," a classic ballet which is familiar to Western audiences, has been interpreted by Chinese acrobatic artists into a new form, which received applause from the audience in Vienna.

The acrobatic ballet, performed by the Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China, gave two fantastic performances in Vienna Tuesday and Wednesday. The performances were held in the City Hall of Vienna with an average ticket price of 50 euros.

An official from City Hall told Xinhua that a total of 4,800 seats were prepared for the audience and all tickets for the shows quickly sold out, with an estimated 6,000 people coming to the show Wednesday.

"This show is great, and it won't let the audience down," he said.

Featuring Chinese cultural elements such as a Dragon boat, the Forbidden City and red lanterns, the stage design together with the colorful costumes and fantastic traditional Chinese acrobatic arts created incredibly brilliant scenes and successfully illustrated the classic love story.

Pianist Axel Zwingenberger told Xinhua the show was "one of the best performances" he had ever seen.

The performers displayed professional skills, and the combination of the eastern acrobatics and the Western ballet was "perfect," the pianist said, adding that "it (acrobatic ballet) is a quite smart idea, really lovely."

His comments represented those of the vast majority of the Vienna audience. Long-lasting applause and shouts of "bravo" could be heard after each section of the performance. Some audience members even went backstage and wanted to see those Chinese artists who "created such magical art."

Dr. Margareta Griessler, deputy director of the General Office of the Vienna Government, also praised the performance, saying "it is the perfect combination of eastern and western arts, it is really remarkable."

The Troupe had performed nearly 20 times during its tour to Western Europe and was warmly welcomed by audiences in Germany and Austria.

Swan Lake