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Aboriginal Dancers Perform Zorba the Greek in China

Lionel Dhulmanawuy, an Aboriginal dancer from a far northern Australian island, points to his dry skin: Beijing’s winter is “powerfully cold”, he says.
Dhulmanawuy and his fellow Chooky Dancers, who became a YouTube sensation with their groovy version of the Sirtaki, danced in the 1960s film Zorba the Greek. They left Australia in January to perform in China’s televised Spring Festival gala, seen by millions.
Last time they had been outside Australia was in Greece in 2007.
The Chooky Dancers will star in the annual gala to be broadcast by Beijing Television to a massive viewing audience during Lunar New Year festivities on February 4th.
The glitzy gala will feature a range of local and international acts including Flamenco dancers, a British child singer, and Russian girls wearing pink bunny ears and matching tutus.
“The Chooky Dancers are very humorous so it is very good for Chinese viewers,” stated Shi Tao, director of the show.
During their four days in Beijing, when temperatures hovered below zero, the men donned gloves and hats purchased at a supermarket to visit Tiananmen Square and then – a treat for the self-professed Kung-Fu fans – a martial arts show at the high school where the actor Jet Li studied.
“It’s really great but too cold,” Dhulmanawuy said he counted the five layers of clothing he was wearing inside the hotel.
The dancers, whose performance for the gala was pre-recorded, were invited to Beijing as part of the Year of Australian Culture in China.  It is aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries.
Josh Bond, the manager of the Chooky Dancers, hopes the Chinese audience likes their blend of traditional and Greek dance so much that they can come back later this year.
“Maybe they will be Australia’s new export,” Bond said.
(source: afp, neos kosmos)

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