Lebanon is among the countries that may have the best model of cultural exchange with China.
Ivan Caracalla, Head of Lebanon’s Caracalla Dance Theater, one of the most reputable theatres in the world, has played an important role in deepening the cultural links between Lebanon and China.
Caracalla Dance Theater first explored the Chinese market in 2005 where it performed the dazzling drama “Two Thousand and One Nights.”
Since then, the international theatre played at least five of its artworks in China.
“The public is impressed every time when we play our shows in China. They are great at expressing their emotions and they interact in an amazing way,” Ivan, who is also the producer and director, told.
Ivan’s successive achievements in China gained him the chance to sign, in 2014, a five-year cooperation agreement for cultural exchange with China’s National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA), the grandest platform for international arts exchange and an important base for cultural and creative industry.
“The cultural exchange with the NCPA allows us to conduct workshops and special productions in addition to sending some of our graduate students to go and discover the arts and culture of China,” Ivan explained.
For Ivan, the NCPA is no longer just a theatre that presents performances. It is an art house which not only promotes the image of China around the world but is also doing a fantastic job to bring the world to China.
“It is encouraging the Chinese public to discover what is happening outside their country … I always believe that through arts, culture, poetry and paintings, you can bring the people together while breaking down any obstacles,” he said.
“Nobody can do what China is doing today. I just came back from the NCPA which can bring together the top 40 theatres in the world in five days,” Ivan added.
In February 2016, the Caracalla Dance Theater performed “Two Thousand and One Nights” on stage at the NCPA, bringing the unique mysteries and exotic Arabian flavour to Beijing audiences.
In March 2018, the theatre performed “Sailing the Silk Road” for the Chinese audience.
The efforts of Caracalla Dance Theater are not limited to the performance of its art works in China. Ivan is aiming at presenting the Chinese dance drama “The Railway to Tibet” to the Lebanese audience.
“I want the Lebanese audience to see the great art that China has,” he said.
Produced by the NCPA, the drama is themed on the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which links Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China with the rest of the country. Starting operation in 2006, the railway is the world’s highest and longest railway built on a plateau.
Featuring elements of Tibetan dance, the drama extols friendship between railway building soldiers and local Tibetans during its construction.
“We will do our best to bring this great show in the summer of 2020 as part of the cultural exchange between Lebanon and China,” Ivan said.
Caracalla Dance Theater’s respect for China and the Chinese people reflects in its keenness to modify its plays in a Chinese way.
“When Caracalla went to the NCPA with ‘Sailing the Silk Road,’ we completely changed it because of the respect to the Chinese audience,” Ivan said, adding that his group inserted Chinese songs and the narration was in Chinese.
“The protagonist … was Chinese and he was talking in Chinese. It took us six months to record the narration in the Chinese language,” he said.
Ivan added that he has several plans in China in the near future.
“China gives you passion, hope and vision,” he said.