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Shanxi drama designated as national "intangible cultural heritage"

Updated: 2014-08-11
By Fang Sha ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Shanxi drama designated as national

Artists rehearse at the Ruicheng Xianqiang research institute on Aug 6 in Ruicheng county, Shanxi province. [Photo/Xinhua News Agency]

Ruicheng Xianqiang, a school of traditional Chinese drama, was recently included on the national "intangible cultural heritage" list.

The drama originated in Ruicheng county and its surrounding areas in Northern China's Shanxi province. The historic performing style combines singing and puppetry with classical Chinese instruments such as the erhu (the "Chinese violin") and the bamboo flute. Its music has a wide range of styles. As it developed over the years, Ruicheng Xianqiang gradually incorporated other Shanxi styles and replaced puppets with real actors on the stage.

Still, the art form has witnessed a decline in popularity in recent decades, which is why the Shanxi government is pushing for its preservation. The government is encouraging experienced artists to pass on the legacy to members of the younger generation, as well as sponsoring a group of professional actors well versed in the drama. Both government and civic efforts are ensuring the drama regains its vitality.

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