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  • Brazilian dancers perform at BRICS Night of Ballet in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China September 15, 2017

    Brazilian dancers perform at BRICS Night of Ballet in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China September 15, 2017 | Photo: Xinhua

Organizers say 210 performers are in the city under the banner, "celebrating culture and bridging hearts."

For the first time, China is holding a festival to celebrate the culture of the countries which make up the economic bloc, known as the BRICS.

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It being hosted by the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen, the location of the group's last summit earlier this month. 

Jim O’Neill, a former chief economist at Goldman Sachs coined the term “BRIC” in 2001 to refer to Brazil, Russia, India and China, and predicted that their combined economies would surpass the largest western economies by 2050. South Africa was added later.

The festival began with a Night of Ballet, featuring dancers from Russia's state academic Bolshoi theater, South Africa's Joburg Ballet and China's National Opera and Dance Drama Theater.

Each performed their most known piece. For China, it was a scene from Red Detachment of Women. For Russia, Swan Lake.

Xinhua

Esther Jean Nasser, head of South Africa's Joburg Ballet, said her ballet has been collaborating with a Chinese troupe on performance.

"Getting together like this with other countries is a very important step for all the BRICS countries to understand each other better," Nasser said.

Over 30 events are taking place during the festival, including performances by the Cisne Negro de Brasil, Russia’s theatre group, Mariinsky and the Aditi Dance School from India.

Organizers say 210 performers are in the city under the banner, "celebrating culture and bridging hearts."

The bloc's member states are keen to focus on more than just their economic agendas.  

Xinhua

The BRICS Film Festival debuted in 2016 and in July of this year, the five countries signed an Action Plan for the Implementation of the Intergovernmental Cultural Agreement on the BRICS (2017-2021).

Xie Jinying, General Director of China’s Department of External Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Culture said, "All BRICS countries believe culture is significantly important to the development of society.”

Xie and other BRICS officials hope that “cultural exchanges and cooperation will become the new driving force for the social and economic development,” and that the cultural festival becomes an annual event.

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