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Dance, music, theater featured at Chinese cultural celebration

February 14, 2007

Wake Forest University will host a Chinese Cultural Celebration, featuring “Tales from the Beijing Opera” from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. March 4 in Brendle Recital Hall.  The public is invited and admission is free. 

The celebration will include several performances by local and professional groups, a Chinese fashion show and a colorful theater performance called “Tales from the Beijing Opera.”

Members of Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy, a professional martial arts school from Mooresville, will perform the lion dance and a martial arts demonstration.  The Twist Drum Troupe of Greensboro will present a traditional Chinese folk dance.  A musical troupe from the Greensboro Chinese Association will perform.  Local children in traditional costume will perform children’s dances, and Wake Forest students will present a fashion show featuring traditional and modern Chinese costumes.   

“Tales from the Beijing Opera” is a 45-minute production told in both English and Chinese that features a series of comic and dramatic scenes from China’s most popular stories.  Sometimes called “kung fu” theater, the performance includes music, dialogue, dance, exquisite costumes and acrobatic fighting. 

Also, in accordance with the tradition of Beijing Opera, the performers’ faces are elaborately painted in colors that symbolize the personalities and roles of the characters.  A red face, for example, usually depicts a character’s bravery, moral uprightness and loyalty while a white face symbolizes treachery and guile.

The theatrical scenes in “Tales from the Beijing Opera” will include “Autumn River,” a romantic tale of a nun who escapes from her convent to pursue the young scholar whom she loves, and “Fighting in the Dark,” a comic episode using mime and stage combat that tells the story of an innkeeper who tries to kill one of his guests in a darkened room.

The actors will hold a question-and-answer session after the performance.  A reception will also take place in the lobby of Scales Fine Arts Center.

For the past seven years, Wake Forest has hosted a Chinese New Year Festival in January that has drawn more than 2,000 participants.  This year, organizers scheduled it in March to decrease the chances of weather-related cancellations and changed the format to allow for the theatrical element. 

The event is sponsored by the Wake International Student Organization, the Asian Student Interest Association, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Greensboro Chinese Association and the Winston-Salem Chinese American Association.

The celebration is funded by Wake Forest’s student activity fee.

For more information, call (336) 758-5675.

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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