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Open-air performances boost cultural tourism
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Open-air performances boost cultural tourism

As the night descends, a small bamboo raft is paddled from a distance on the Lijiang River with a folk song echoing around the mist-shrouded karst hills.

And this serves as a prelude to "Impression Liu Sanjie," an open-air themed performance staged in Yangshuo County of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The night show with over 600 performers unfolds against the picturesque backdrop of Yangshuo's landscape, incorporating the charm of ethnic minorities featuring their folk songs, dances and costumes to create a captivating visual and auditory experience.

Liu Sanjie, a legendary folk song singer from the Zhuang ethnic group, is known for her exceptional singing talent. In the 1960s, a movie about her became immensely popular across China, making Liu Sanjie a household name at the time which now represents the rich ethnic culture in Guangxi.

Through this phenomenal character, the performance accompanied by melodious folk songs, reveals the daily life of local people, which is firmly rooted in ethnic culture.

In contrast to traditional stages, here the audience is sitting in natural setting -- a 2-km stretch of the tranquil Lijiang River, against the backdrop of 12 mountains. The performance's three-dimensional sound effects are therefore enhanced by the natural elements, providing a unique experience influenced by the weather and seasons.

"The organized dances or plots pale in comparison to the majesty of the landscape, which evokes a sense of reverence for the natural surroundings," said Wang Chaoge, one of the directors of the on-water show, adding that it has a universal appeal to the spectators amid the hustle and bustle of urban life when everyday scenes from rural life awaken a nostalgic longing for one's roots and a connection to the past.

Since its debut in 2004, "Impression Liu Sanjie" has been performed over 8,000 times, with a total audience of 20 million people and generating a business revenue exceeding 2.8 billion yuan (about 394 million U.S. dollars).

"I'm quite surprised with the diversity of the gorgeous performance and I get to know some Zhuang ethnic culture and history," said Jasper Wilkins, a British spectator.

The artistic integration of natural landscapes with ethnic cultures has brought a lot of changes to local people's life.

Xie Chengjun, a fisherman who joined the performance in 2014, said that he has a particularly deep affection for the waters here.

"I paddle the raft on the Lijiang River for sight-seeing tourists during the day and perform here at night. The local mountains and rivers have nurtured us," said Xie.

During this year's May Day holiday, nine "Impression Liu Sanjie" shows were performed, attracting 26,850 people and raking in an income of some 4.3 million yuan.

Xinhualiu sha

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