Chinese Art in Washington – Lynette Clemetson
From The New York Times:
In an artistic “war room” in the Kennedy Center, anxious staff members were leafing through signs directing artists to “stage right” and elsewhere in Chinese. Down the hall, hundreds of packages of instant noodles lined the walls of a rehearsal space, quick comfort food for performers who don’t eat granola bars. Below the Eisenhower Stage, workers were constructing makeshift dressing rooms for the 150 performers and stagehands involved in opening night.
The mad-dash preparations were finishing flourishes in a four-year journey to “The Festival of China,” a monthlong Kennedy Center event that begins on Saturday, China’s National Day. (Sheer coincidence, organizers said.) Featuring more than 800 artists and 53 performances, the festival mixes traditional Chinese opera, folk music and acrobatics with modern dance, technology-infused puppetry, contemporary music and fashion. The splashy $5 million extravaganza, the most ambitious and costly international collaboration in the Kennedy Center’s 35-season history, is part of a larger push by the center to increase its profile and relevance. “In terms of what we are trying to do on the international scene, this is the largest manifestation of that goal,” said Michael M. Kaiser, the president of the Kennedy Center, in an interview days before the opening.