Updated: 2013-09-24 06:41
By Zhang Yue (China Daily)
Students practice instrumental ensemble on the bank of Baiyangdian Lake in Anxin county, Hebei province. Photos by Wang Jing / China Daily
A group of students in rural Anxin county were handpicked in February to take part in arts lessons. They are now preparing to stage a performance to show off their new skills. Zhang Yue reports in Hebei province.
It's 10 am on a Sunday, and 12-year-old Li Ziyi from Duancun village in Anxin county, Hebei province is practicing the basic movements of ballet in the dance studio at a middle school with 17 of her peers.
She practices splitting her legs. As her legs stretch wider, she feels increasing pain. "Our teacher told us in the first lesson that if you feel pain, you may shed tears. But you should not cry out loud," she says.
This is her 21st ballet class this year. She took her first in February. Bearing her teacher's words in mind, Li and her peers, all girls, are practicing Dance of the Four Little Swans.
This is a group dance that is usually performed by girls who have learned ballet for more than five years.
Though the girls have not fully mastered the technique of standing on their toes, they are enjoying the beauty of the performing art with excitement.
Before February, Li spent most of her weekends playing with her friends and watching TV at home.
Then, a group of about 20 teachers and students from Beijing Dance Academy, Central Conservatory of Music and the National Ballet of China, gave the children the chance to try something different.