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Ambassador Zou Xiaoli attends the performance "Meet the Grand Canal"

On January 23 018, the dance-theater show "Meet the Grand Canal", a cultural heritage drama, was performed by the Hangzhou Opera and Dance Theatre troupe at the cultural center of the Foundation of the Hellenic World. Ambassador Zou Xiaoli, the Greek Deputy Minister of Economy and Development, Mr. Stergios Pitsiorlas, and a large audience watched the performance with great interest.

Speaking before the start of the show, Ambassador Zou stressed that the performance "Meet the Grand Canal" is not only the culmination of the Year of Cultural Exchanges between China and Greece that was inaugurated in April 2017, but it also marks the beginning of the celebrations for the Chinese New Year while initiating a new series of cultural exchanges for 2018.

Likening the Grand Canal to a bridge between the two countries, Ambassador Zou said that relations between China and Greece have grown increasingly close in the recent years, while bilateral cooperation has scored great achievements benefiting both peoples, such as the COSCO Piraeus Project. Finally, he expressed his personal conviction that through this performance, the audience, Greeks and Chinese alike, will be spiritually stimulated and feel elation, which will allow them to continue working together to achieve more great things.

Through a wide variety of dance that theatrical scenes, the creators of the show present their own take on the history of the Grand Canal showing us the creation of the canal, its heyday, its passing into oblivion, its rediscovery, and, finally, its millennia-old cultural significance.

The leading male role represents the creator of the dance-drama "Meet the Grand Canal," while the female protagonist embodies the canal's ever-flowing waters. The audience witnessed the construction of the canal; its apogee; how it was forgotten and then rediscovered. Through their mutual understanding, love, and separation, the two protagonists vividly reflect the relationship between humanity and nature, as well as the interdependence between modern society and the protection of cultural heritage.

After the show, Ambassador Zou went on stage once again, this time to express his sincere congratulations and thanks to the whole troupe. He said that the show "Meet the Grand Canal" is a unique work of performance art, rich in history and meaning, that delivers timely messages of exceptional artistic quality. Employing the global language of art, this Chinese story has become truly international, while through their narrative, the actors and creators of the show have opened a "Grand Canal" in the heart of the audience, thus building a bridge between the Greek and the Chinese people. Last but not least, he expressed his wish that their visit to Greece will help the troupe draw great inspiration from the birthplace of the European civilization, helping them improve their future performance as they strive for artistic excellence.

Long after the show had ended, the audience remained in the venue to take photos with the artists, and write their wishes on a special scroll the troupe had brought with them from China.

This event marks the completion of the Year of Cultural Exchanges between China and Greece, as well as the launch of a series of events celebrating the Chinese New Year. The performance of the dance drama "Meet the Grand Canal" was supported by the Ministry of Culture of China, the National Art Foundation of China, the provincial government of Zhejiang, the government of Hangzhou, and the Embassy of the People's Republic China in Greece.

The troupe visited earlier the city of Loutraki in the prefecture of Corinth, where they also participated in a cultural exchange event organized by the local authorities and themed after the channel. This event, a symbolic "dialogue" between China's Grand Canal and the Corinth Canal, received strong support from the local government while the people of Loutraki participated enthusiastically. In the course of their visit to Greece, representatives of the troupe had interactions with various local art groups.

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