The Xinjiang dance festival opened Monday in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, featuring folk art in an international arena.
The opening performance of the event was a dance drama that replayed scenes along the Silk Road, an ancient trade route linking the east and west, with merchants carrying goods using camels in the Gobi desert.
"The dance festival is part of the Chinese government's endeavors to boost Xinjiang's culture," said Minister of Culture Luo Shugang at the opening ceremony of the event, which will last for 17 days and stage 78 performances by 25 troupes from China and abroad.
The performances will feature classic ballet Giselle and Arabian Nights, Mandarin dances featuring Confucius and Kwan-yin, as well as traditional Xinjiang dances.
Luo said he hopes the festival will bridge exchanges among different cultures along the Silk Road.
This year's event, the fourth since 2008, is a follow-up to China's the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative, known as the "Belt and Road", said Ren Hua, a senior cultural official in Xinjiang and head of the event's organizing committee.
He said art troupes from more than 50 countries have staged performances at the dance festival over the past seven years.
The event has been held once every two years since 2011.
Xinjiang is reputed for its unique singing and dancing, and many natives of the region are talented in performing arts.