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"The East Is Red", premiered in 1964, was on a much larger scale and higher artistic standards. Therefore, it had a greater influence on the people.
The dance epic was created on the initiative of Premier Zhou Enlai. Employing the art forms of song, dance and poetry, it depicted the arduous struggle of the Chinese people to achieve victory from past hardships. The team of directors and choreographers was led by Chen Yading and Zhou Weizhi. Both of them were artists and administrators in art and literature circles. There were 29 choreographers led by Zha Lie involved in this work and rehearsals for the dance epic lasted for months. The premiere of the work and the following performances were all held at the Great Hall of the People.
"The East Is Red" featured a close-knit structure, powerful presentation, exquisite designs and superb artists. In addition to large amounts of new work, the dance epic also included many excellent songs and dances, which were created after the founding of the People's Republic of China and were popular among the people. These selections were arranged into the whole work appropriately. Nearly all of China's best-known singers, dancers and musicians at that time participated in the show --a total of 3,000 performers, including some art troupes from outside Beijing.
"The East Is Red" described the Chinese people's revolutionary history. The performance also served as a review of China's development in song and dance, as well as a review of the achievements of artists after the founding of the PRC. It became the most significant art performance since 1949. In 1965, "The East Is Red" was adapted into an art film and received accolades from both home and abroad. Even today, three decades after the premiere of the film "The East Is Red", whenever it is staged, it receives a warm welcome from the Chinese people.