Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show – ‘Silk Road, Flower Rain’ 丝路花雨

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

If you are traveling to Silk Road China, one of the must do thing is seeing the Dunhuang Silk Road Show – ‘Silk Road, Flower Rain’ . The classic dance drama, hailed by many as China’s Swan Lake, has been performed in more than 40 countries since its debut in 1979.

Dunhuang Theater

The Dunhuang theater is very huge and charming venue. I am very impressed with the stunning theatre, look very new but very traditional art in the architecture.  There are few theatres located here.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Wood Carved Masterpiece

Once you entered the theater, you will notice the whole hall is surrounded with white color marble and a huge wood carved masterpiece. The wood carved masterpiece is very large which cover the whole wall and you won’t be able to miss it when you enter. It is located at the front of the entrance door. The wooden wall depicting many “Flying Apsaras” or fetian/飞天 and also Magao Cave if you go look closer.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Auction of calligraphy

The show took about 1.5 hour but I can tell you won’t feel a minutes bored. The chairs are comfortable and new and there were many Japanese tourists too. Before the show started, there was an auction of painting and calligraphy going on for a local famous artist.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Summary of Story Background for Silk Road Show

The story feature a female lead character called Yingniang who is captured by bandits and rescued by Yunis, a Persian trader. After reuniting with her father Zhang (Male Lead), the painter, she inspired his paintings in the grottos of Dunhuang with a dance and by playing a pipa (music instrument) behind her head. Yingniang and Yunis flee to Persia to escape the city’s evil mayor, and Zhang was forced to paint the famous frescos of the Dunhuang grottos until his death. At the end, the governor punishes the corrupt mayor and celebrates international cooperation with guests from different nations along the Silk Road trading route.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Show consists of 8 Parts 

There are 8 parts of the show. Each part has a title. You get to see the unique culture of the Silk Road. You also get to see the Chinese and Persian friendship here.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Iconic Move : Pipa Instrument was played at the Back!

One of the iconic move of the female dancer is playing pipa behind her back. Please catch this dance move as this move can be found in any historical records. Many of the dance move are adopted from the art of  Buddhism, inspired from the mural paintings in Magao Grottoes.  This  particular movement comes from the fresco in Mogao cave called “fan tan pipa” is  considered one of the most beautiful, graceful, and challenging parts in all of Chinese dances.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

The Dunhuang grottoes are a Rosetta Stone of ancient dances

The stage, lighting and costumes of the dancer are just stunning. The paintings of the Dunhung Magao grottoes also come to life on stage.  In fact, many of the dance moves come from the paintings from Magao grottoes.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Zhang – The Painter, Male Lead Dancer

One of my favorite dancers, Zhang – the painter, also act Yingniang’s father.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Dazzles Dunhuang

There are few excellend lead roles here, Yingniang – no doubt since she is the lead female dancer.  Zhang, Yingniang’s father, also the painter, as I mentioned earlier.  The other interesting roles are the bandits & Mayor and Yunis.  I really enjoyed watching the bandits role dancer, he dance it so well and you can see his cunning and sly expression on his face.  Really entertaining.  Zhang, the painter is another great dancer, these days you don’t get to see so many great male dancer.

Yingniang – Female Lead Dancer

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

One and Half Hour Show

Our show started at 8.30 pm and finish at 10 pm.  By the time we came out from the theatre, it was already dark.  Check out the night view of the Dunhuang Theatre below.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

Final thoughts :

This is one of the must do show if you are thinking of doing Silk Road China, especially if you are in Dunhuang.  I am very sure you will get entertained by the colorful costumes and professional dance move. This was a meeting of styles and customs, where the Silk Road and Chinese cultures came together.

The price for the show aren’t cheap, I paid RMB 300 (~USD 45) for a ticket including transfer.

Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show - Flying Apsaras/Feitian 飞天

47 Replies to “Silk Road China : Legend of Dunhuang Show – ‘Silk Road, Flower Rain’ 丝路花雨”

    1. Dear Cristine,
      One of the thing or highlight to watch carefully is the Feitian/flying fairy, they played the “pipa” Chinese music instrument at their back, which is one of the iconic move. Imagine how can you played guitar at your back?? We don’t have such long hands.

    1. Dear Stephanie,

      Dunhuang Legend show did perform in other part of the world but I guess I would prefer to watch it here since I am in Dunhuang and was on the Silk Road journey.

    1. Dear Jessi,

      China is just an exotic destination which is packed full of new experiences. You get to see the very old and the very modern. Silk road China however show more of the traditional side of China. And any Silk Road traveller trip would not be completed without watching the “Legend of Dunhuang” show.

    1. Dear Holly,

      The Dunhuang Show is one of the not to be missed show in Silk Road as it tells the story of ancient silk road. The performers are all very professional and world class.

    1. Dear Tara,

      Yes, I totally agree, the colorful costumes from the dancer are just simply stunning, especially the Fetian/flying fairy who played “pipa” chinese instrument at her back!

  1. I absolutely love CHINA. Their people, events and style is just too good. If I ever got a chance to go there I’m definitely gonna hit the Silk Road as it seems so interesting and fun.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Rukh AZ.

    1. Dear rukhmasajid,

      Thanks for your comment. China has a lot to offer, their Impressive Ancient Heritage, Natural Wonders and Variety of Cuisine. Different part of China eat different food, for example people from the south eating rice as their main but people from the North of China eat noodles/bun -Chinese bread from flour.

  2. I have never been in that place but it looks like a nice show to be watch and your story tells us to be there too!

    1. Dear Tara,
      Thanks for your comment. The Silk Road show get performed in many places around the world. But Dunhuang is the origin of the making of this Silk Road show so I am very happy to be able to catch it here.

  3. Great photos! The event looks interesting! I am so curious about the calligraphy auction, id they sell everything?

    1. Dear Ruth,

      When I entered the theatre, the calligraphy auction had already started. Yes, all the artist work was sold out that night and the show started on time at 8.30pm.

  4. Sometimes it’s okay to splurge a bit if it’s making great memories or doing something you really enjoy. I think this would be worth the price!

    1. Dear Tiffany,
      This show is marked as the China’s swan lake show, also a sample of China national dance drama. It is originated in Gansu Province and been played in more than 40 countries around the world, debut few decades ago!

  5. Wow such incredible colours and scenes and a wonderful selection of photographs. If and when I finally get to visit China, this will certainly be on my list.

    1. Dear Emily,

      The choreography of the show of Dunhuang Silk Road Flower Rain was inspired from Dunhuang murals, Magao Cave (World Unesco Site) where Buddhist monks would paint beautiful pictures on the walls of caves in Dunhuang thousands years ago.

    1. Dear Peachy,
      Silk Road Show has generated huge influence on the history of dance in China, becoming a huge brand name in China and whole world. Watching it in the Dunhuang Theater is one of the thing you needed to do while on Silk Road tour.

  6. I am in complete awe. Loving the fashion, beauty and all of the details that goes into this show it looks like a beautiful experience.

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