Crouching Tiger Hidden Panda

On June 20, 2012, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, Entertainment, by Jack Li

As part of my China travel I ventured into the depths of Houhai to catch a Kung Fu show.  A friend of mine who speaks better Chinese than I bought the tickets from an all Chinese website, and we only had a vague idea what was in store for us.  We got a little turned […]

As part of my China travel I ventured into the depths of Houhai to catch a Kung Fu show.  A friend of mine who speaks better Chinese than I bought the tickets from an all Chinese website, and we only had a vague idea what was in store for us.  We got a little turned around getting there and as a result arrived right before the show began.  When we sat down we were trapped in a sea of Panda costumes, and were worried our poor Chinese has accidentally led us to a kids show.  Once they show started, however, we realized it was anything but, and that the show was a great addition to our China tours.

Kung Fu Bandana

Kung Fu Bandanna

The show was based around two pandas traveling around China to learn about all of the different Kung Fu styles.  Each act took place in a different part of China and focused on a different style.  The acts began with the panda’s wandering through the sets acting as the comic relief clowns.  Then a large group scene would begin with many different martial artists practicing the style and the pandas getting caught in the middle of it.  Finally, a master of the style would come out and perform a much more impressive feat.  These ranged from fighting off an entire group, to breaking a stack of bricks, to fighting upside down.  Everyone in the show was in peak physical condition, and the fighting scenes were spectacular.

I came into the whole show with high expectations after having it built up to me over Skype for hours before I went, and I was not disappointed.  I’ve always had a soft spot for Kung Fu movies, but there is nothing like seeing the real thing.  When you’re on stage there’s [almost] no special effects and no safety net.  The performance was raw, entertaining, and extremely impressive.

The entire show was full of laughs, thrills, and excitement.  It was relatively inexpensive, and was a great way to spend a night.  If you’re interested the website is http://kungfushichahai.com/, it’s in Chinese though so have a friend or Google translator ready if like me your Chinese is not always up to par.  See this show or any Kung Fu show as part of your China travels.  It’s a great way to experience the people and culture of China, and see an amazing show to boot.  Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, this is not a show you want to miss.

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Entertainment in Beijing: Acrobatics, Opera & Kung Fu Shows!

On September 15, 2011, in Beijing, Entertainment, Nightlife, by Jack Li

A must see experience on any China tour is a visit to an acrobatic show. Attractions like this can be very hit and miss but Chinese acrobatics is definitely a hit and has to be seen to be believed! The shows are an eclectic mix of dance, gymnastics, contortion, martial arts and incredible stunts, with […]

A must see experience on any China tour is a visit to an acrobatic show. Attractions like this can be very hit and miss but Chinese acrobatics is definitely a hit and has to be seen to be believed! The shows are an eclectic mix of dance, gymnastics, contortion, martial arts and incredible stunts, with insane acts such as five men on motorbikes whizzing around a gigantic hamster like ball.

 

The history of Chinese Acrobatics dates back over two thousand years and when you travel to Beijing the best and most recommended location to see the extravagance is the Chaoyang Theatre. The theatre is easy to get to and located in the east of the city, the nearest subway stop is ‘Hujialou’ on line 10. Performances are available each night, with a viewing at 5.15-6.30pm and another at 7.15-8.30pm with the cost being around 200RMB for the cheapest seats, however this can rise up to 800RMB for those with the best views.

 

Chaoyang Theatre has a souvenir stall selling merchandise related to the performance including a DVD of the show, and there is also a small shop selling drinks and snacks to bring into the theatre with you. Performances are around 75 minutes.

 

The show is a spectacular combination of movement, lighting and sound and makes for some beautiful photos. Other theatres in Beijing offering shows are the Tiandi ‘Heaven and Earth’ Theatre (nearest subway stop is Dongsishitiao on Line 2) with shows daily at 7.15-8.30pm and Tianqiao Theatre (best accessed by taxi) with shows at 7.15pm. Both cost in the region of 180RMB for the cheaper seats.

 

In addition to Acrobatics there is also an energetic Kung Fu performance on show at the Red Theatre (closest subway stop is Tiantandongmen, Line 5) entitled ‘The Legend of Kung Fu’. There is more than just martial arts to this show which follows a narrative, as it involves dangerous stunts with variety of props and sharp instruments. There are performances every evening beginning at 7.30pm and tickets cost from 180RMB. Shows last 1 hour and 20 minutes.

 

Another traditional attraction is the Beijing Opera (known as Jingxi) which, although not as comprehensible as the above attractions, is still worth a visit – if not for the impressive costumes, make up and stage design. The most popular theatres for this are Liyuan Theatre (accessed via the Liyuan stop on the Batong line) and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (subway stop Tian’anmen West (Xi)), both have evening performances starting at 7.30pm. Alongside the original opera performances many popular Chinese teahouses also combine the traditional tea tasting experience with Opera entertainment, and often this can be combined with a Peking Duck dinner too.

 

If you are unsure about organising any of these activities or would rather be a part of a group visit many Beijing Hotels and online travel companies offer tours or package deals to all of the above attractions.

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