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Acting on a whim and a prayer

By Du Juan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-21 07:45

Acting on a whim and a prayer

Student hopefuls gather at the Beijing Film Academy to take the preliminary entrance exam on Feb 10. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Performing arts colleges nationwide have been inundated with applications from wannabe stars, but fame and fortune may be harder to attain than they think.

People will always have dreams, even though only a few of them will ever realize their secret goals.

Nowadays, an increasing number of young people in China are choosing to apply to performing arts schools in the hope of becoming famous, no matter how slim the chances of success may be.

On Feb 8, the Beijing Film Academy started its monthlong selection process. Along with the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing and the Shanghai Theater Academy, the BFA is one of the country's top performing arts schools.

Zulipkar Askar, from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, was one of 8,500 hopefuls who took the BFA's preliminary exam for performing arts majors.

"I expect the competition to be fierce, but I am confident that I have the skills to follow my dream," the 21-year-old said.

This year, the number of applicants for the academy reached a record 38,000, a rise of 25.5 percent compared with last year. Just 75 of the 8,500 who will take the preliminary entrance exam will gain admission to the performing arts course-a 113.3-to-one chance of success.

Meanwhile, courses in television and radio production and journalism are also hotly contested.

Zhang Hui, head of the academy's school of performance, said the internet and media have over-promoted movie stars and performing artists. While the attention has motivated many applicants, some of them may not actually understand what a performing arts course involves, and are just besotted with the idea of "becoming a star".

"We are not responsible for creating stars. We hope more young people will understand that the BFA is not a springboard for becoming a star," Zhang said. "The performing arts require a lot of study, and it takes a lifetime to master all the skills."

The Central Academy of Drama in Beijing has also seen a record 36,000 applicants, meaning that only one-in-246 hopefuls will be admitted to its performing arts major.

Liu Shanshan, 18, conceded that the possibility of acceptance was low, and even if she were to gain admittance there is no guarantee that she would have a successful post-graduation career as an actress. Despite that, she still believes it is worth trying to achieve her goal.

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