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Ancient Chinese art debuts in Edmonton

Thousands of young Chinese students from Edmonton schools were treated to something rarely seen outside of the Asian nation.

Thousands of young Chinese students from Edmonton schools were treated to something rarely seen outside of the Asian nation.

For the first time in Canada, the Mei Langfang Beijing Opera Troupe performed a work shop of the ancient and traditional Chinese art form.

The Confucius Institute in Edmonton has been working on bringing the troupe here for over a year and they chose Ross Sheppard High School as the venue for the unique experience.

“This is their first time ever outside of China so it’s a very rare opportunity,” said Jenny Li-Mitra, Ross Sheppard’s Chinese teacher.

“Many young people in China are losing interest in it, so the government is now trying to revitalize it.”

Developed more than 200 years ago, Beijing Opera is considered China’s cultural treasure.

Components include singing, recitation, acrobatic fighting, gestures, and dancing.

Li-Mitra said she and her close to 300 Chinese students at Ross Sheppard will study the Beijing Opera in a unit in class following the workshop but she’s not sure the artform will catch on here.

“Edmonton’s Chinese community is a very strong group of people,” she said. “I hope they can get into this but I don’t think it will catch on as a really popular form of art. For my students, I just want them to appreciate it.”

 
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