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Arts & Culture
Arts & Culture
UPDATED: August 15, 2011 NO. 33 AUGUST 18, 2011
Dance, Dance, Dance
China's dance industry booms while being troubled by market disorder and product piracy

REVIEW OF PAST: On display are a great number of photos reflecting the achievements of Chinese dance art and the industry (BAI SHI)

A flock of children led by their teachers swarmed into the Beijing Exhibition Center, the capital's first large comprehensive exhibition venue built in 1954. They went there to visit the 2011 China Dance Expo.

The expo, which was held on July 22-24, covered an exhibition area of 10,000 square meters, offering 400 booths to suppliers, theaters, academies and other organizations involved in the dance industry.

"We hope the expo can serve as a bridge between dance product vendors, dance performers, theaters, studios and colleges, and spectators, to link enterprises and consumers," said Feng Shuangbai, Vice Chairman of the China Dancers Association (CDA), organizer of the expo.

It was the second time the association has staged a nationwide dance exposition. Although the first dance expo in 2002 in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, did not attract much attention, it laid a foundation for the follow-up.

"In the nine years since the first expo, economic and social conditions in China have made great progress. China has held several big events and expositions, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 2010 World Expo in Shanghai and the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, driving the growth of the marketing of and interest in dance in China. As a result, a new opportunity for the Chinese dance industry has arrived," said Feng.

The expo has not only presented the achievements Chinese dance has achieved in recent years to visitors, but also enabled visitors to experience new dance-related products while enjoying colorful live dance performances. The interaction between exhibitors and visitors strengthened understanding of visitors about dance, and the public particularly could get an overall view of the industry.


"What's more, the industry is facing its best-ever opportunity to develop as dance's popularity grows in Chinese people's everyday lives. During the past 30 years, dance has grown to be a large part of China's culture and arts market. From individual workshops to improved manufacture of accessories, the industry is now large, which comprises three main areas: Performance, supply of products and training," said Zhang Rui, general manager of a dance costume producer participating in the expo.

Today, large dance performances in China often involve an investment of more than 10 million yuan ($1.55 million), said Feng.

The Report of Revenue and Operation of the 50 Best Plays and Operas released by the Ministry of Culture in 2009 shows the dance drama A Great Dream of Dunhuang ranked second with an input-output ratio of 650 percent. And there were 14 dance dramas which achieved revenue returns of average 290.36 percent.

In addition to dance performance, there is a growing demand for dance accessories and training. Parents are spending money and time on dance training and costumes for their children, and constitute a huge consuming group.

"More than 200 universities and academies now teach dance, and the queues of people learning dance grow every day. Generally speaking, a big dance product manufacturer's output value exceeds 100 million yuan ($15.5 million) a year," Feng said.

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