ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Two spectacles that you shouldn't miss in China

Updated on July 14, 2011

The Romance of the Song Dynasty, named as one of the three best permanent shows in the world, and Impressions of West Lake directed by the acclaimed Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), are two magnificent spectacles that you shouldn't miss in the gorgeous city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province in China.

Both spectacles are hallucinating and a truly unforgettable experience for the senses. An explosion of vibrant colors displayed in beautiful costumes, outstanding scenography and lights immediately catches your eyes and leaves you in awe. The amassing music transports you to alluring places, while the dances and acrobatic choreography are as creative as superbly synchronized.

Romance of the Song Dynasty/Photo by CaribeM
Romance of the Song Dynasty/Photo by CaribeM

Chinese Culture and History

Romance of the Song Dynasty

Romance of the Song Dynasty is a spectacle that includes acrobatics, acting and dance that is based on the history, legends and culture of Hangzhou with a hint of other Asian cultures. The show develops in six acts: "Liangzhu Lights", "Budist Monks", "Palace Dancing", "Shinning Spears and Armored Horses", "Beautiful West Lake and Legends", "Picking Tea Leaves", and "The World Meets Here".

An explosive and amazing acrobatic performance opens the show with a celebration of the Liangzhu 良渚, the neolitic culture that inhabited the Changjiang (Yangtze) delta circa 3400 and 2250 BC. Immediately, this fast paced act is followed by the serenity and stillness of the Budist monks and the achievement of Nirvana (the perfect peace of the state of mind that is free from craving, anger and other afflicting inclinations and attitudes). The music and the design of shadows, lights and digital images helps to create a lasting visual impression of the monks reaching the Nirvana.

Romance of the Song Dynasty/Photo by CaribeM
Romance of the Song Dynasty/Photo by CaribeM
A scene of "Shinning Spears and Armored Horses". Romance of the Song Dynasty/Photo by CaribeM
A scene of "Shinning Spears and Armored Horses". Romance of the Song Dynasty/Photo by CaribeM

After this contrasting display of some of the cultural influences that the city of Hangzhou have received in the course of about five millenniums previous and during the advent of the Song Dynasty (960-1269 AD), twelve beautiful dancers from the Song era emerges from the public. Then, the stage becomes the court of the Song period where an amazing spectacle celebrating the King's birthday takes place. The stage is filled with palace officials, servants, entertainers, along with a King and Queen, all in colorful and magnificent traditional attire. The celebration is eclectic in terms of music, dances and costumes.

"Shinning Spears and Armored Horses" is an act performed in honor of Yue Fei, a renowned general of the Southern Song Dynasty who was killed defending the reign from the invasion of the Jin Dynasty. In this act, we see a well choreographed battle between the armies, that includes live horses running across and arrows flying to the stage, cannons and bomb blasts, and a lovers farewell.

In "Beautiful West Lake and Legends" the classical and well known Hangzhou myths of "White Snake" and "Liang Zhu" merge their stories in a brilliantly staged "West Lake" that includes water fountains, mist and drizzling drops of water falling all over the theatre like rain. After this jaw-dropping act, we get immersed in the tea culture of Meijia Wu, the Hangzhou village famous for the production of Longjing (Dragonwell) tea. A group of young ladies chant a traditional harvest season song while picking the leaves from a "field" full of tea bushes.

The final scene of the show includes several dances from different parts of Asia: a traditional Taiwanese dance, an Indian dance, a traditional Korean dance with fans and drums performed by women, and the Korean Pungak (a traditional dance performed by men in which a ribbon attached to the hat is twirled with the head while the dancer is making some acrobatic dance movements).

A scene of the legend of White Snake. Romance of the Song Dynasty/Photo by CaribeM
A scene of the legend of White Snake. Romance of the Song Dynasty/Photo by CaribeM
Song's Dynasty Town (Park)/Photo by CaribeM
Song's Dynasty Town (Park)/Photo by CaribeM

Song Dynasty Town

Situated at southern-west part of the West Lake scenic area backing on Wuyun Mountain,Qiantang River to its south, Song Dynasty Town is the first largest and biggest theme park featuring the civilization of Song Dynasty in China.

Besides the home place of the spectacle "Romance of the Song Dynasty", the theme park is a recreation of a Song era city, full with streets with food, candy and souvenirs vendors and shops, fair games, acrobats, street performers, puppet show, a haunted house, among other amenities. It's worth to spend a whole day in the park after of before watching the show.

Impressions West Lake/Photo by CaribeM
Impressions West Lake/Photo by CaribeM

Impression West Lake is an open-air spectacle of light, music, dance and theatrics shown on the Yue Lake of the West Lake (just in front of Yue Fei Temple). The story is a very creative interpretation of the Hangzhou legend "White Snake". Using the lake and its surroundings as a stage and the mystical music of Kitaro, directors Wang Chaoge, Zhang Yimou, and Fan Yue have created a wonderful spectacle of lights, engineering and hundreds of actors that should not be missed if you have the opportunity to visit the breathtaking city of Hangzhou.

Since this spectacle is an impression of West Lake and one of its famous legends, you will be able to appreciate it even more if you get to know a bit of the city's history and culture before you go to the show. The spectacle is incredible and unforgettable, a feast for the senses and a snapshot of Chinese creativity and imagination. To describe the show here will spoil your experience.

One of the bridges at West Lake/Photo by CaribeM
One of the bridges at West Lake/Photo by CaribeM

The West Lake

Located in the historic center of Hangzhou, the capital of the southeastern province of Zhejiang, the Xi Hu (West Lake) is a gorgeous natural space surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens. A treasury of ancient sculptures and architectural features are enhanced by the natural setting of the peaks, serene forests and springs, dense foliage, weeping willows and a wide variety and colorful blossoms. Whatever the time of the year, the panorama is pleasing to the eye and the nuances of light shade together with the moods of the season, weather and lights and shadows of the day, present an ever-changing picture that has been described as 'intoxicating'. The Xi Hu was a favorite imperial retreat and there is no wonder why this lake have inspired many Chinese poets and romantic tales, enchanted politicians and fascinated visitors for many centuries.

If you want to learn more about the Xi Hu and its history, go here

Hubpages about China

Top 5 Places to Visit in China by jim.sheng

The Great Wall in Beijing, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), is the most often seen tourism site in China. It runs over 373 miles, containing about 827 city wall platforms, 71 passes and countless...

Xi'an: China's Historic City by jw east

Xi’an is a city with a longer history than any in China. It was a former capital city of several important dynasties. Though Xi’an is a modern and bustling metropolis, the remnants of its past...

Chengdu by jw east

Chengdu is the capital of China’s Sichuan province. Known abroad for its spicy and hearty cuisine, Sichuan is one of China’s wealthiest provinces, mainly because of its success in agriculture. ...

Advantages-Disadvantages of hiring a tour guide in China by fordie

Travel in China is notoriously difficult especially as Chinese characters are indecipherable for most visitors. Tour guides offer their services at most sites, at a price. When is this money well spent? What...


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • CaribeM profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Hey! Thanks for your comment. If you need some advice for your trip let me know. I'll give you some pointers. Take care!

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 

      8 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      China is an amazing place and I look forward to going there in the next 12 months. Thank you for an excellent hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)