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Mansha Tian & YueWai Wong
Chinese Opera Body Training
This Field Project consists of two parts: performance methodology description and performance methodology training.
The performance methodology training leads participants, starting from understanding their own bodies, to explore the use of breath, thought, emotion, energy, transmittance and more in performance. Tian Mansha will introduce the three essential energies (Jing, Qi, Shen) of Xiqu (Traditional Chinese Opera) performance; how emotion is generated; and, when emotion is generated, aside from physiological changes within the body, what external expressions are employed as well.
How do performers use their senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste to experience external stimulants and internal contemplation? How do they express the body’s emotions? How do they transmit the body’s energy? What is the importance of breath and thought in the performing arts?
The traditional Chinese Opera consists of Movements, Dance, Gestures, Acrobatic, Singing and Speaking. All this is an equal combination. Not like Western Opera, where singing remains the main and most important part, in XiQu (Traditional Chinese Opera) the artist has to master all aspects equally.
Therefore the training of an artist until he/she can begin to perform, takes a minimum of 8 years. Mostly an artist starts the training at a special high school and then goes on to the college of the Academy, where he/she will studies another four to five years.
There are hundreds of forms of XiQu in China and even today they still exist. The most famous are Chin Qu, which is Beijing opera, or Kun Qu, the Kun Opera, or Chuan Qu, Sezhuan Opera.
The Field Project will not focus on a specific form of XiQu, but rather on the basic principles.
The concept of body is central to the understanding of XiQu and very different from the west. While in the West we find traditionally the separation of mind and body, there has never been a separation of that kind in Asia, especially in China. Here the body concept is very much based on the Yin and Yang principle and on the concept of Qi, the flow of energy.
The concepts of body will be explained during the week. The Field Project itself will consist of 80 % exercises and 20% explanations and lectures. This is necessary, so that participants can both, intellectually understand, what and why they are doing the exercises, hence understand the theoretical background, and at the same time learn to use their bodies in this way through the exercises.
The first focus is on different movements, like certain hand gestures, head, fingers, legs etc. and the combination of these elements to enable participants to make their own creations.
The five different aspects of the Field Project are:
• Body Training
• Energy Training (Qi)
• Mindfulness Training
• To make a small performance (work in progress)
• Theoretical introduction to XiQu, the body concept and the energy concept.
ArtistBio: Mansha Tian
ArtistBio: YueWai Wong