International arts festival in Southern California features traditional Chinese plays – Xinhua

Artists perform traditional Shaoxing opera, also called Yue Ju, for the audience at the Bonita Center for the Arts in San Dimas, Los Angeles County, the United States on August 6, 2022. (Photo by James Mao /Xinhua)

by Julia Pierrepont III

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Hundreds of culturally minded people flocked to the Bonita Center for the Arts in San Dimas, San Gabriel Valley this weekend to enjoy an evening of traditional theater Chinese.

The auditorium thronged the auditorium on Saturday with groups of small children in fairy-tale party dresses and their elegant mothers in silk, embroidered Chinese robes, and indulgent dads on a fun family outing.

The artists performed some excerpts from traditional Shaoxing opera, also called Yue Ju, including “The Peony Pavilion” and “The Butterfly Lovers,” for the audience over two hours. Elaborately costumed characters sang in their high-pitched voices, using graceful hand and body movements with comedic dialogue.

Shaoxing opera is one of the most popular Chinese opera genres.

Hosted by the Sino-US Chinese Musicians Association, North America’s largest, most authoritative, and most professional association of Chinese musicians, the event is the opening ceremony of the 5th US Legacy Festival, a festival and international art competition whose aim is to “promote and improve Chinese culture, Chinese and Western music and traditional arts, help international communication, and give a platform and a stage for outstanding artists to show their talent .”

It aims to provide a high-level stage for outstanding artists to showcase their diverse artistic talents and allow Chinese and Western artists to create and collaborate on traditional and new art forms together.

The festival committee invited musicians, playwrights, artists, dancers and teachers as guest performers and judges of the competition.

“We will all be very proud to inherit Chinese and American culture and art and contribute to world art,” said Ye Jin, vice president of the Chinese American Musicians Association and performer. de pipa, in a press release.

Traditional Chinese theater combines song, dance, music, poetry, acrobatics, colorful costumes, elaborate makeup, and even martial arts, all of which require years of intensive study to master. The musicians supporting the singers’ performances respond to synchronized cues from the performers that allow them to work in harmony to create responsive musical accompaniment that enhances the experience for the entire audience.

The festival and competition committee hopes that the event will continue to promote traditional Chinese culture in the City of Angels and allow Chinese culture to “shine on the international stage and provide the public with an unforgettable cultural and musical experience”. .

Supported in large part by parents and grandparents, efforts are being made to reach and re-engage younger generations of artists, who tend to embrace more modern forms of art and culture, such as TikTok, Instagram, the movies and games.

“I come because I love beautiful costumes and exotic face paint – more than singing,” Sophie M., an American student at the University of California, Los Angeles who is majoring in drama, told Xinhua. “It’s fascinating to see how different cultures approach live performance and multi-generational storytelling.”

“You would never see this in most places in America, but a strong Chinese-American community here in Los Angeles is carrying on this interesting tradition for everyone to enjoy,” Richard L., a filmmaker based in Los Angeles, told Xinhua. in Los Angeles.

Attendees were also welcomed by Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles, Zhang Ping, who praised festival organizers and attendees for their excellent work in preserving traditional Chinese culture and creating opportunities to build bridges. unique cross-cultural ones.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis summed it up in a letter, “The people of Los Angeles County salute your dedication to promoting Chinese culture with an emphasis on unity, diversity, and inclusion.”

“At a time when anti-AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) hate crimes are on the rise, these values ​​are more important than ever in our community. Your commitment to celebrating arts and culture will have a lasting impact on the San Valley. Gabriel for generations to come,” she continued.

The San Gabriel Valley, known for its large Asian American community, is home to more than half of Los Angeles County’s Chinese-American population.