In the spirit of searching for memories of heroes, and gather the power of times, inherit the red legacy and honor role models, literary and artistic creation featuring children of the grassland always resonant with and moves all Chinese people. In recent years, the pioneering and innovative undertaking in the ethnic performing art in Inner Mongolia is thriving. It allows our ethnic culture to shine both in and outside of China and to pass down the spirit of grassland from generation to generation.
In 2018, Little Sisters of the Grassland, a dance drama created and performed by Inner Mongolia Arts University, won the 11th China Lotus Award. In 2019 it won the category of Wenhua Award in the 16th Chinese government Culture and Art Award. The Lotus Award, which is held once twice a year, marks the highest achievement in China’s dancing and art field. It is highly influential both in and outside of China for its guidance, justice and authority. The Wenhua Award, which is held once every three years, is a category of Chinese government Culture and Art Award and it is the highest government-level award in the field of national stage art. Little Sisters of the Grassland won the first Wenhua Award in the field of stage art play in over 3 decades in Inner Mongolia autonomous region. This had filled the gap and achieved a breakthrough. This drama also marks a giant breakthrough of Chinese contemporary dance drama creation on realistic theme in recent years.
Little Sisters of the Grassland, the ethnic dance drama, was an adaptation of the 1960s story of two little sisters named Longmei and Yurong. In order to protect the commune sheep from a blizzard, they fight with the blizzard for one day and one night while risking their own safety. In the end they finally managed to protect the collective property of the sheep. From a contemporary perspective and with a multi-space-time design, this drama combines realism with romanticism, the plot with the character’s fate, psychological feeling with specific life, graceful dance with details of life. It shows the collision of souls and emotional intermingle between contemporary pupils and the two little sisters in the 1960s in a realistic and plain approach. It aims to educate contemporary young people to pass down the heroic spirit of the little sisters of grassland, and be faithful to their original aspiration and continue to march forward. It advocates patriotism, passing down the spirit of collectivism, and shouldering the mission of our new era.
Two years later, the large-scale original ethnic dance drama Cavalry, which is the first drama featuring cavalry in the Chinese stage art history, produced by Inner Mongolia Ethnic Art Theater, entered the final evaluation of Lotus Award
as the only production from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Competing with other 8 excellent dramas from other provinces all over the country on the same stage, Cavalry, with its distinct and unique art form, innovative means of expression, majestic revolutionary history, and positive spirit, gained the unanimous recognition by audiences and judges, and ranked first place in the 12th Chinese dance award Lotus Award. This is the second Lotus Award for an Inner Mongolia themed creation since the large-scale ethnic dance drama, Little Sisters of the Grassland won the 11th Lotus Award in 2018.
Carrying forward the spirit of patriotism, of love between human and horses, of harmony in all living things, and a vision of human peace, the large-scale original ethnic dance drama Calvary depicts romantic love and passionate patriotism. The bravery, perseverance yet tenderness of the Mongolian horses are particularly presented on the stage. These are all vivid interpretations of the spirit of Mongolian horse put forward by General Secretary Xi Jinping, which is to be industrious, courageous and unremitting. Only by learning from the history could we build up a better future. At the time of national peril and under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Inner Mongolia cavalry devoted themselves to the People’s Liberation War. They made great sacrifices for the founding of new China with their courageous and unremitting spirit in the bloody battles. These cavalrymen shine brightly as they hold firm faith and keep their pledge of following the Communist Party, joining the army and safeguarding our country. Cavalry pass on this spirit further, not just to children of the grassland, but also to each one of our contemporary young people. It encourages all Chinese people to struggle with unremitting efforts for a better life, to meet the challenges, blaze new trails and to create great achievements worthy of our times.
As master pieces celebrating the spirit of children of grassland, Little Sisters of the Grassland demonstrates the spirit of sacrificing individual interests for public goods and believing in Collectivism, and Cavalry displays the spirit of children of grassland in safeguarding our country courageously. Both are worthy of celebration, remembering and being passed on.
Both dance dramas received positive feedback and high praise from audiences and industry experts respectively. They were awarded with Lotus Award, and Little Sisters of the Grassland won an extra Wenhua Award, which is not only a great and happy event in the culture and art field in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, but also marks the advancement of Inner Mongolia’s artistic creation, which has improved from “plateau”(advance level) to “peak”(superior level).
General Secretary Xi Jinping once stressed that, “To strengthen the unity of our Chinese nation, the long-term and fundamental rule is to enhance cultural identity, build a common spiritual home for all ethnic groups, and actively cultivate the sense of community of the nation.” As the ethnic performing arts in Inner Mongolia flourishes and improves, it is more accessible to and well recognized by the general public, and thus it enhances cultural identity. At the same time, Chinese people of all ethnic groups will be more united to create a prosperous and splendid Chinese culture. And during this process, the sense of community of the Chinese nation will be strengthened and the charm of Chinese culture will be enhanced. The Chinese nation will be more united and the Chinese people will be more confident as we move forward more firmly on the road to revival.