Asian Culture Carnival: a colorful display of CDAC vibrancy
As the sun set over Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium, the curtain was raised on a bright and colorful evening gala to celebrate the first Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations.
The excitement was palpable as crowds of people filed into the National Stadium, which famously hosted the spectacular Beijing Olympic opening ceremony in 2008.
As the audience took its seats, it was clear that this Asian Cultural Carnival was also going to be an audiovisual feast of dazzling lights, dance performances and songs.
But the biggest roar of the evening came before the show got underway, as the gala's hosts announced Chinese President Xi Jinping was attending, alongside international leaders attending CDAC.
The audience listened attentively as Xi described how the diversity of Asian civilizations has made Asian cultures colorful, giving them a long-lasting vitality.
Representatives of the 47 countries attending CDAC walked on stage holding their national flags, as the crowds cheered them on.
The stage was set for a series of performances representing the huge range of cultures across Asia and beyond, with traditional dancers followed by modern pop stars, and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performing Nessun Dorma before an appearance from Chinese martial arts superstar Jackie Chan.
Backstage, performers waited nervously in the wings prior to their performances to thousands of people in the stadium, and millions of others watching television.
When their performances came to an end, the adrenaline was clearly pumping as Japanese drummers, Lebanese dancers and Chinese pop stars high-fived and hugged each other, clearly thrilled to have spent a few minutes on stage sharing their cultures with the rest of the world.
If there was one word to summarize the gala, it would have to be “color.” It was a vibrant, kaleidoscopic display, showcasing just a tiny slice of Asian culture.