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Old art, new life

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-10 09:20

[Photo/China Daily]

Qiu Jirong has also tried to adapt to modern art forms. He learned contemporary dance and has performed in crossover projects, such as the dance production Under Siege by dancer-choreographer Yang Liping and 2047 Apologue, a concept stage show directed by the renowned filmmaker Zhang Yimou. "He (Qiu Jirong) has absorbed various influences from different art forms, which has broadened his vision as an artist and enabled him to look at Peking Opera from a fresh perspective," Guo says.

On Dec 31, streaming site Bilibili broadcast its 4.5 hour gala, featuring a star-studded cast that included pianist Lang Lang, rock singer-songwriter Cui Jian and rock band Mayday. The gala was viewed 120 million times within 48 hours. A 9-minute Peking Opera show by Qiu Jirong and other artists also received warm feedback for giving the traditional art form a contemporary touch.

The performance, titled Jing Hong (The Elegance of Traditional Opera), was set in Qiu Jirong's dreams, where he combined contemporary dance and classic pieces from six Chinese art forms: Peking Opera, Kunqu Opera, Qinqiang Opera, Pingju Opera, Chuanju Opera and Hebei Bangzi.

"I was called rebellious since I broke my family's tradition of being a Peking Opera actor. Though I have never met my grandfather, he has been with me since I was born. Everyone told me to be a great artist like him," says Qiu Jirong, 36, who attended Guo's book event in Beijing. "I respect my family's artistic tradition very much. However, I don't want to simply imitate my grandfather. I want to create my own art."

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