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David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center Welcomes China to Promote the Cultural Exchange of Chinese Performing Arts

First Offering to Feature the China Jinling Dance Company of Nanjing in the U.S. Premiere of a New Dance Drama Production of The Peony Pavilion, Jan. 5-8, 2012

NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The China Arts & Entertainment Group (CAEG), a creative enterprise under the administration of the Ministry of Culture for the People's Republic of China, is pleased to announce the United States premiere of a new dance drama production. The Peony Pavilion by the China Jinling Dance Company of Nanjing takes the stage at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center Jan. 5 - 8, 2012. Tickets are now on sale.

The engagement will be the first offering of what is hoped to be an ongoing relationship between CAEG and the David H. Koch Theater, which will showcase China's historical contribution to the world of theater and art. It will present the finest in Chinese contemporary and classical performing arts to the United States on an ongoing basis.

The production of The Peony Pavilion in New York is made possible in part by the generous support of American Airlines.

The Peony Pavilion tells a story about forbidden love, written by Tang Xianzu, and first performed in 1598 as Kunqu opera during the Ming Dynasty. The four shows in January 2012 will mark the first time the dance drama will be performed outside of China, and the Ministry of Culture has chosen New York's David H. Koch Theater to take it center stage in its U.S. premiere.

The China Jinling Dance Company was founded in 1955 and first performed The Peony Pavilion as a dance drama in 2008, winning several awards the following year including best director, composition, and stage design.

"Both Chinese and U.S. government leaders have recently emphasized the importance of promoting bilateral relations through cultural exchanges," said Zhang Yu, President of the CAEG. "The Peony Pavilion is one of China's most extraordinary cultural exports that artfully epitomizes the beauty and history of Chinese culture."

This modern dance drama, born from the classic love story by Tang Xianzu, is presented with bold and visually stunning scenes, through complex and demanding choreography, in ornate and elaborate costumes, with each scene pieced poetically together. Creating a dream-like setting, audiences are drawn into the fantasy and intense love courtship of Du Liniang and Liu Mengmei. The contemporary fashion in which the drama depicts such an ancient tale is a true innovation. They break new ground by presenting the essence of the play in an entirely new theatrical art form.

"This production, presented by the China Arts & Entertainment Group, will be the first step in what we hope will be a long-term relationship with the David H. Koch Theater," said Mark Heiser, the theater's Managing Director. "As the theater opens up to other international and national arts organizations, it is this type of partnership that we believe will promote cultural exchange and will further engage Lincoln Center with the many diverse communities that live and work in New York."

In 1999, the Lincoln Center for the performing arts produced a 20-hour version of Tang Xianzu's Peony Pavilion directed by Chen Shizheng and starring Qian Yias as Du Liniang. This 20-hour version was perhaps the first full length staging in 300 years and spurred an interest in the full opera beyond a few celebrated episodes. Lincoln Center's version toured extensively, playing in New York, Paris, Milan, Singapore, Caen, Charleston, Aarhus, Berlin, Perth and Vienna.

Every year, American Airlines sponsors activities in China and the United States that support Chinese organizations, groups and people. From Chinese New Year parades in New York and Chicago, to aiding cultural institutions and fine arts societies, American and its employees lend resources and time to provide a bridge between the Chinese and American cultures.

American began its operations to China five years ago, with daily service between Chicago and Shanghai in 2006, and Chicago to Beijing added in 2010. In April, 2011, American became the first U.S. carrier to offer nonstop daily service between Los Angeles and Shanghai for a total of 21 weekly flights between the U.S. and China.

About American Airlines

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About the CAEG

The China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG), the first large state-owned cultural enterprise, was inaugurated after the merger of the China Performing Arts Agency (CPAA) and the China International Exhibition Agency on April 5, 2004, as a major step to transform Chinese culture and art institutions into modern enterprises. The China Performing Arts Agency and the China International Exhibition Agency are under the auspice of the Ministry of Culture, undertaking cultural exchange projects to promote and enhance Chinese culture in other countries.

Besides annual events including the Meet in Beijing Arts Festival, Asia Arts Festival, Venice Biennale - China Pavilion, and China International Chorus Festival, the China Arts & Entertainment Group is entrusted by the China's Ministry of Culture to manage shows and exhibitions such as the China-France Culture Year, Year of China in Russia, and Year of Russia in China. CAEG each year runs more than 5,000 shows, exhibitions and comprehensive cultural activities in hundreds of cities, regions, and in countries around the world, with annual audiences of more than 10 million.

About the David H. Koch Theater

The David H. Koch Theater is a traditional proscenium theater with seating for 2,544. Designed by Philip Johnson specifically for George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet, the theater is widely considered to be one of the world's great venues for dance.  Built as part of New York state's participation in the 1964-65 World's Fair, the theater was originally called the New York State Theater and opened on April 23, 1964.  Part of New York's famed Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts complex, the theater occupies the south side of the main plaza (at Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street) that it shares with the Metropolitan Opera House and Avery Fisher Hall.

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