Kung Fu reality check

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-01-24 11:07:33

Kung Fu reality check

Performers of Kung Fu Revelations:9 Scrolls are from the country's best martial-arts schools and are ages 8-22. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

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Religious culture also thrived: Taoism has early roots there, and the first Buddhist temple, the White Horse Temple, was built there. Luoyang city is also the site of many of the scientific inventions of ancient China, such as the seismograph, armillary sphere, paper-making, printing and the compass.

That rich history and culture, he says, is one reason he didn't choose to establish the show in a big city like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou-where "too many extravaganza shows" emphasize visual appeal over content.

"I believe that Kung Fu Revelations: 9 Scrolls will offer a tranquil experience for the audience," says Yu. He named the new venue the Theater of Meditation.

To enable audience members to immerse themselves into the show, the production team incorporates aromatherapy, updated lighting and live Buddhist chanting. He also plans to launch traditional Chinese study lectures in the theater during the day.

"In the fast-changing world, we return to our own culture to seek relief and meditation, which is our spiritual DNA," says Yu.

"We want to find a language for Chinese kung fu rather than using ancient philosophies to educate people," adds the renowned choreographer Liu Zhen, who directed and choreographed the show.

Liu, who graduated from the traditional Chinese folk dance department of Beijing Dance Academy and is known for his choreography in the dance drama Dunhuang My Dreamland, says the show itself is evolving.

As the 35 young Chinese kung fu masters ranging in age from 8 to 22 grow up, new members join in. The youngest actor, 8-year-old Shi Wenlei, is the third generation of the leading role in the show.

To better pass the message of Chinese kung fu, Liu also adjusts the show's tempo and the actors' movements based on the audiences' reactions.

"Kung fu is an art form, which is very beautiful and full of energy. Even the slowest movement contains power," Liu says. "That beauty of kung fu has been overshadowed by fast fighting scenes and displays. We want to let the audience really see it."

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