What should you expect of the opening ceremony of the Guangzhou Asian Games after the stunning visual extravaganza presented by Beijing Olympics organizers two years ago?
The hosts of Guangzhou didn´t miss the opportunity to reach wider global recognition, with a breakthrough demonstration of the Asiad´s values of "solidarity and progress" in the five-hour show called "Sailing".
A Touch of Guangzhou
Dropping the common practice of holding an opening ceremony at a stadium, the Guangdong Games´ organizers moved the center stage onto the boat-shaped island, Haixinsha, on the Pearl River.
In the nimble hands of Chen Weiya, assistant director of the Beijing pageantry in 2008, his new production centered on water, the soul of the host city´s coastal origins.
Before the show started, athletes, team officials and dignitaries arrived at the waterside site following an hour-long boat-cruise along the Pearl River.
"Four years ago in Doha, the Asiad´s flames rose from the desert, and four years later, we will start our Asian Games´ journey here on the Pearl River,” said Chen.
"We try to present the beauty of life, the glory of civilizations and the hopes of future through water," he said.
A drop of water trickled down the four huge sail-shaped LED screens to unveil the performances of the opening.
If the Beijing version presented a grand tribute to Chinese civilization in general, Chen´s team used a tightly-choreographed 70 minutes to portray the colorful history of Guangzhou from a fishing port to modern metropolis, an epitome of China´s revival.
Guangdong culture can be seen in the ceremony, from the little boy singing a local children´s song “Heavy Rainfall” on a green crystal palm leaf-shaped boat to a gigantic Red Kapok, the city flower of Guangzhou, blossoming on the water.