Performance at opening ceremony
Trainees learn finger movements.
Boy wears an opera mask.
On July 13, the opening ceremony of the 2018 Summer Camp for Traditional Chinese Opera was held at the Tianyi Theater. Sixty young participants and their parents came to the theater to experience the charm of traditional Chinese operas. Besides Peking Opera, Han Opera and Chu Opera, this year’s summer camp will also provide training and appreciation of traditional Chinese acrobatics, puppet shows and Quyi folk performances.
Learning opera postures and movements
At the opening ceremony, the young trainees enjoyed excerpts of Peking Opera, Han Opera, Chu Opera, an acrobatic show, a puppet show and a stand-up comedy.
When the first group of trainees walked into the rehearsal hall of the Peking Opera Theater of Wuhan and began their opera class, the girls learned "the orchid fingers," which are typical finger movements for male roles to express their emotions, and the boys learned the posture and movements of "the hands, the eyes and the body."
Zhai Liling, 13, and Zhai Lipeng, 8, having just returned from the U.S. to visit their grandmother, joined the summer camp on her recommendation. Liling and her group members carefully observed the teacher's demonstration and practiced again and again. Liling said, "I have already learned to dance, and now I understand the similarities between dancing and Peking Opera. Peking Opera is very beautiful, and I hope to learn more about it."
Practising acrobatic rope skills
The Wuhan Acrobatic Troupe offered young trainees a chance to know what happens on the stage as well as backstage.
On July 14, the children visited the Wuhan Acrobatic Arena to learn the history and application of Wuhan acrobatics. The performers of the Wuhan Acrobatic Troupe pushed the props for "Flywheel Show" and "Big Springboard" into the rehearsal hall and began rehearsing. Kids were stunned to watch a young performer leap and swing on the five-meter-high "Ferris wheel." When performers offered to teach the trainees rope skills and cap techniques, the latter were all eager to try. While watching rehearsals and practicing on their own, participant Liu Ziyan learnt the importance of "Practice makes perfect."
Watching operas and learning face painting
At the "Han Opera Mini-Class" on July 15, Geng Liya from the Wuhan Han Opera Theater told the trainees about the history, roles and vocal music of Han Opera.
During the "Backstage Secrets" session, the trainees were led into the dressing room. "Wow, how beautiful!" they exclaimed when seeing the costume of the Imperial Consort Yang in the opera "Rainbow and Feather Garment Song." They also learnt why these precious costumes should never be washed.
The most interesting session was "Face Painting" for opera roles. The four distinctive face masks prepared by the teachers were Zhang Fei, Ma Su, Yang Jian and Meng Liang. "We must follow certain rules in painting faces for the roles of Han Opera. Look, Zhang Fei has a leopard's head and big round eyes. We have to paint thinner in this part and lift his eye lids at the end." After finishing painting, the trainees put on their masks and began to vividly practice what they had learned in the morning.（By Huang Lijuan Photo by Xu Weiwei & Xiaoxi）