Behind the scenes at China's New Year Gala

The New Year Gala show, broadcast on state media on the eve of Chinese New Year on Thursday, is one of the most watched television programmes in the world.

Hundreds of millions of people in China tune in to watch the show, which features patriotic songs, comedy sketches and dance routines.

So how does it feel to be part of one of the biggest nights on Chinese television? And is the experience worth all the hours of practice?

The BBC's Beijing bureau asked some performers to share their thoughts.

Image caption Yu Jieting, five years old, street dance performer: "I'm not nervous. I'm very happy to be here. I came all the way from Xiamen, and I've been practising for four months. It's not tiring at all."
Image caption Guo Yan, dancer from Ning Xia Autonomous Region: "I'm thrilled to be on national television. I'm just a student. This opportunity is very rare and it has taught me a lot. We competed with others to be on this stage, and I was happy every step of the way. When I was little, my parents would always say 'what if our little girl can make it to the New Year Gala', and here I am today."
Image caption A Tibetan dancer, 21, Tufeng Singing and Dancing Troupe from Yushu Autonomous Region, Qinghai province: "I'm very happy and excited to participate in the New Year Gala. Performing our Tibetan folk dance makes me very proud."
Image caption Qian Jianfu, dancer from Sichuan province: "It's my first time joining the New Year Gala. I feel quite torn. On one hand, I can't make it home this time, and I can't spend time with my family. But on the other hand, working in Beijing makes me feel that I've matured and expanded my horizons."
Image caption Sun Jun, dancer from Wuhan, Hubei province: "We are the supporting dancers for the opening performance. I've taken part in the New Year Gala for three years, and some of us for 12 years. I was very excited the first time, but after doing it year after year, I started to feel very tired. The dances have been changed many times. But my family will all be watching me on the TV, so I'm really happy."
Image caption Lu Yihai (centre), 19, wushu performer from Shandong province: "Wushu [Chinese martial art] is a way to nurture our minds and bodies. The content of our performance is a secret, but I'm very proud to have a chance to show wushu to audiences around the country. We've been rehearsing for a month now."
Image caption Wei Jiaqing, Peking opera performer, from Wuhan, Hubei province: "This is not fun at all. I didn't want to come to Beijing, but we were chosen to be here. It's very draining, and the performance has to be approved by lots of people. I'd rather spend time with my family."

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