Riverdance visits Kunming and Chongqing
Kevin Horton, Dancer, Bann Company
For most of the company, last Monday was like any other travel day this tour, except the flight to Kunming didn’t leave until around 9pm, so everyone got to enjoy another day off in Chengdu. On the contrary, about 20 company members traveled to Changsha instead on three separate flights to participate in a Chinese television show. I was included in the group who did the television show and it was an adventure to say the least. All of us were on separate flights very early in the morning and when I tell you there were copious amounts of heavy fog covering the airport, I am not exaggerating. We suffered delays from 5-7 hours and by the time we made it to the hotel in Changsha it was time to head over to the TV studio. In the end, it was worth the aggravation of delays just to partake in such a comical over-the-top Chinese TV show. After all, it is seen once a week by 300 million people; the second most watched TV program in the World!! It was a lot of hard work, but it paid off and the show was very successful. We stayed the night in Changsha and made the three hour flight, with no delays this time, to Kunming.
One thing I will say about Kunming is how blue the skies were. Since the city is at an elevation of over 2,000 meters, it is situated above most of the fog lines and blue skies are able to shine through. This has not been the case in most of our cities here in China, so a nice blue sky was warmly welcomed. Also, being close to the border of Vietnam, the weather was a nice 22 degrees C for our couple of days there, always a plus. Unfortunately, I was sick here and had to sit out three of the four shows in Kunming. It figures I have to recuperate in my hotel room the one place that has nice warm weather!! At least I survived the visit to see a doctor at the Chinese Hospital. Thanks to the translators that came with me!
After our time in Kunming, we hopped on a flight to Chongqing for the rest of the week. We were kind of disappointed to find out that this city is one of the most polluted cities in all of China, rarely getting sunshine. It was even compared to getting less sunshine than London and it was quite the switch from Kunming. It is strange to be able to stare directly at the sun and not be affected by it. But all smog aside, the city had some great things about it as well. Since the Chinese New Year is creeping upon us, the entire downtown area of the city was covered in lights and decorations. I am told the Chinese go all out for their celebrations and this was evident while driving around in our taxis throughout the city.
We have started rehearsals for the new installment of Riverdance on DVD, which is going to be shot during our time in Beijing. Lots of work has gone on during our days to make sure that we can do the best performance possible. There is a great buzz for the actual shoot and how everything will take place, so check back next week and I will be able to fill you in on the latest happenings of Riverdance-Live From Beijing!