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Video: Pageant along the Pearl River - Float parade kicks off Asian Games' opening night

11-12-2010 20:05 BJT Special Report: Guangzhou Asian Games |

Xinhua - Tens of thousands of ordinary Guangzhou residents welcomed the Asian Games to their city and played their own parts in a spectacular interactive "festival of harmony" with the athletes and officials from the Games' 45 National Olympic Committees as they sailed along the Pearl River.

Starting from White Swan Bay, the athletes and officials from the Asian Games Family boarded their boats to the strains of "Happy Song All the Way Along the River" for a parade downriver from the wharves to the ship "Harmony" in the modern heart of Guangzhou.

Slideshow

Taking 77 minutes, the boats not only carried their charges to the "ship" on the island but also gave them an opportunity to experience Guangzhou's culture and unique riverside life at six stops along the way and gaze in wonder at the city's dazzling night skyline glided past, the buildings, bridges and other landmarks lit up by a sea of neon and laser lights.

And it brought the Opening Ceremony home to people who otherwise would never have had a chance to join the festivities in person.

Opening Ceremony Director Chen Weiya said "leaving the stadium" for part of an Opening Ceremony centred on the host city itself had never been tried at such a large event before and he called the boat parade a way for Games' participants to "be together with the people" and give as many Guangzhou people as possible "their own glimpse of the Opening Ceremony and turn it into a festival".

For the athletes and officials, the parade showed them the natural and urban life of the Pearl River as well as performances on the riverbanks of traditional Guangzhou drumming, lion dancing, the Xiguan culture of Guangzhou, a local wedding,Cantonese Opera, painting of a scroll depicting the "City of Five Goats"and the Asian Games, dance, games and shadow boxing by local adults and seniors, a flower and fashion show and demonstrations of martial arts, percussion music and opera fused into cutting-edge modernity.

At the first stop, Zhoutouzui Dock, local residents and performers used dance and music to depict Guangzhou's long history as the gateway to the Maritime Silk Road that brought Chinese commodities such as silk, ceramics, tea and handicrafts to the world at large and goods from the outside back to China.

At the stop at Xidi Dock, wedding enactments demonstrated the charming depths of the local Xiguan culture that has both witnessed cultures from outside and included many of those elements into Xiguan's own culture while maintaining its own uniqueness.

At Tianzi Dock, Yueju Opera, the calling card of Guangzhou wherever there are Chinese overseas, offered the boats' many passengers yet another entree into "Colourful Guangzhou" and its culture.

By absorbing the creams of varied folk arts,Cantonese Opera has integrated them with the best of other operas to create an artform that uses realistic performance and song based on people's own lives over decades and decades of local history to continually enrich the lives of those watching and performing today.

At the fourth waypoint, from Dayuanshuaifu Dock to Zhongda Memorial Arch, 20 children painted a long scroll depicting life in the "City of Five Goats" as the boats passed by while under the Arch area, residents kicked shuttlecocks, demonstrated their ballroom dancing skills and shadow-boxed to underline the pride Guangzhou citizens take in their free time as well as in their work time.

At Dashtou Dock, modern Guangzhou greeted the boats with a flower festival and fashion show that highlighted the city's hospitality as host city of the Games and emphasised the vigour of its younger residents as they move into the second decade of the 21st century.

With a riot of colourful flowers as a backdrop, dancers and models showed off modern Guangzhou fashion and dance to reveal an energetic, happy and harmonious outlook for the future.

At Xinghai Concert Hall Square a folk variety show and percussion performance wrapped the athletes and officials, in their brightly lit boats, in the culture and traditions of the Lingnan region of the mighty Pearl River.

Dances of lions, dragons and "qilin" legendary animals, combined with martial arts performances, percussion and opera, all merged into a rollicking, unforgettable celebration of the Asian Games, the athletes and the people of Guangzhou.

An hour and 17 minutes after embarking at White Swan Bay, the boats' passengers arrived at Haixinsha Island, greeted with joyous music and dance.

All the passengers then prepared to join the nearly 30,000 spectators in the "ship" "Harmony" for the artistic performances or for the Parade of Athletes.

Guangzhou is the central attention tonight with the opening ceremony of the 16th Asian Games. Celebrations has already began in the whole city because years of preparation finally lead this glorious moment. Athelets from around Asia will share the pride and another major event after the success two years ago in Beijing''s Olympic games. In today''s special program, we will see the unique coverage over the PEARL RIVER leading the opening ceremony.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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