A source of inspiration

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A source of inspiration Ecological preservation is a major theme throughout the dance drama, featuring dancers performing as wild animals.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Eco-themed danbut it couldn't be ruled outce drama explores and reflects the beauty and vibrancy of Qinghai province, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

Its landscape demanded that director and choreographer Tong Ruirui address the important issues. Qinghai province is both captivating and extreme and gave Tong a different sensation and deeper understanding every time she went there. It forced her to examine the triviality of human existence, the harshness of the natural environment and the gratification of completing a pilgrimage.

Tong went on three trips to Qinghai's Sanjiangyuan (Three-River-Source) area, the headwaters of the Yellow, Yangtze and Lancang rivers (the latter known as the Mekong River after it flows out of China), for a recent dance drama she directed.

Follow the Mother River, produced by the Qinghai Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and created by Qinghai Performing Arts Group, staged two performances in Beijing on May 22 and 23.

The storyline delineates a journey similar to Tong's. It invites the audience to follow the narration of a tourist from a coastal city, who journeys to the headwaters region.

He witnesses the sublimity of snow-covered mountains, learns about the profundity of local culture, and befriends sincere and hospitable locals including Tashi, head of a mountain patrol team protecting local wildlife, and his daughter Drolma, who yearns to see the outside world.

Ecological preservation is a major theme throughout the dance drama, which features dancers acting as wild animals, displaying their movements and characteristics, as well as the relationship between people and nature.

"I feel it was the headwaters that led me to reflect on the subject. We stumbled upon the theme of ecology rather than deliberately choosing it. It seemed like that nature chose us,"Tong says.

Set mainly in the 1990s, the plot also draws from the real story of environmental defender Sonam Dargye, whom the character Tashi is based on.

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