The Chinese Arts and Culture

As part of our package with China Tours, we went to four different artistic shows in four different cities. Below is a quick list of the shows and the cities.

Show City
Kung Fu Show Beijing
Ancient Dynasty         Xian
Light Show Yangshuo
Acrobat Show Shanghai

Kung Fu Show When I first heard about this, I had thought it would be a Kung Fu demonstration which I thought might be entertaining. However, it was quite different. The Kung Fu Show was actually a small play set to music and dance. The sound system in the theatre was awesome and the music truly floated through your ears. The play was about a young boy that wanted to become a Kung Fu master. He learns the ways, but he loses his focus because he falls in love with a beautiful woman. Ultimately, he finds his way back and becomes a master. The dance moves are quite elaborate and physically difficult. They are running and spinning through the air doing marvelous things. Many thought this was the best show of the tour. The one problem with this show was that photography was specifically prohibited and they made an announcement before the show began. So no pictures. ­čÖü

Ancient Dynasty This show was very elaborate and spectacular but in a very different way. The show endeavors to give us a flavor of how music, art and dance were during the times of ancient dynasty. Again, the sound system and lighting was fantastic. The costumes were amazing. More importantly than that, there were close to 200 people participating in the show. Because they were all running around changing costumes, it felt more like 400. They also had a few music scenes which really gave a nice feeling for Chinese music and the stark differences from the commercialized western approach to music.

Solange deserves a lot of credit because they allowed photo, and she stood up the entire time, so she could take as many photos as possible. We have the best photos from this show.

The Light Show The Light Show was by far the most ambitious project and expensive production. The concept and the production was done by the same guy that did the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics. The light show takes place in a large outdoor theatre overlooking a very large lakes with numerous large stone mountains as a back drop. The entire area is flooded with light including the mountains themselves.

Rather than a couple of hundred people, this shows has close to five hundred, again all in costume with multiple costume changes. It was quite dramatic, but this show fell short because it was quite confusing. There is a story line, but it is not clear how it all holds together. On top of that, since the story is being told over such a large area, it is hard sometimes to see what is happening. And it is harder still to take good photographs. My wife, always the steady hand, did her best, and those are the photos, you see in the slide show.

Acrobat Show If you have not seen the Chinese acrobats, they are certainly worth seeing. They have been travelling throughout the US, and I had the pleasure to see them twice in Myrtle Beach. The show is full of mind boggling acts that defy gravity or how you thought the human body can stretch. Some of the highlights are when they do acrobats on bicycles and they have five motorcycles simultaneously running in a large steel cage.

Unfortunately, we did not take many photos of this show. Before entering the show, we asked the guide whether photos were OK, and he answered affirmatively. When we got to the theatre, we had great seats and immediately starting snapping away. Shortly after, I woman from the theatre came and rudely hit my arm when I was taking a shot. I thought I was blocking someone’s view, so I tried to be more careful. But then she same and hit my arm again, and had a very stern look on her face. Despite our guide’s approval, it was clear that this woman was not. She reminded me of a rule Nazi, but I didn’t want to let this Nazi ruin a good show, so we stopped taking photos. It was a great show, but we only have a handful of photos from the beginning. Oh well, guess you will have to go see it yourself.