In fluttering steps, women in light dresses with long scarves dance in a circular motion, alternating their bodies from left to right.
This is the typical image of the Flying Apsaras painted on the wall of the famous Dunhuang Grottoes in Northwest China's Gansu province.
Tonight at the Tianqiao Theater, the Gansu Provincial Song and Dance Company will perform the six-scene dance drama Episode on the Silk Road.
To celebrate the Beijing Olympic Games, the Gansu Provincial Song and Dance Company revives the show and brings it back to the Chinese capital.
The show features choreography derived from the ancient murals and paintings, including the Flying Apsaras now kept at the Dunhuang Grottoes.
Featuring a focus on the prosperity and trade along the Silk Road during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), the dance tells the love story between Chinese artist Zhang's daughter Yingniang and a Persian merchant - and the friendship between Zhang and the merchant.
A group of choreographers including Liu Shaoxiong, Zhang Qiang, Zhu Jiang, Xu Qi and An Jianzhong spent time at the Dunhuang Grottoes studying the unique and special dance that derives from the Buddhist dancing form on the wall. They are the creators of the idioms seen in the dance.
The show premiered at Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Oct 1, 1979. Over the past 29 years, it has toured more than 20 countries for 1,500 shows.
Source: China Daily