Martial arts and modern dance on stage together

January 11, 2016

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The 2008 Summer Olympics were held in China and the opening ceremony was unforgettable. In fact, many sports analysts ranked the show as the best in Olympic history, according to the Guardian. Almost 91,000 fans watched a spectacular performance by nearly 14,000 individuals (including 2,000 drummers alone!), which painted a vivid image of the history of China.

For many viewers, it was hard to imagine another spectacle that would be as amazing as that one. Luckily, audience members didn’t have to wait too long for another glimpse at the same brilliance the entire world witnessed in 2008.

The same group takes it to the stage
The organizers of the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony recently created a theater production. The show is called “Opera Warriors” and successfully merges both modern dance and martial arts in a way that wows its audiences. The one-of-a-kind combination of these two sports is made possible because of the acrobatic ability of the performers. Some who have seen the show are quick to point out that “Opera Warriors” contains a lot of the same elements as that famous opening ceremony.

“Opera Warriors” is presented by the China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG). The show tells the story of three martial artists in 20th century China who face trials and tribulations in their careers and love lives. In addition to being an excellent showcase for martial arts skills and dance moves, the show also teaches audience members about the rich history of China though Chinese opera. That said, members of CAEG are confident that individuals who don’t like opera will still enjoy the show.

Bringing it to the Western world
The Queen Elizabeth Theater in Canada will put on several performances of the show as a result of cultural exchange program Image China. The program aims to spread Chinese culture while entertaining its audiences. Steven Siyuan Liu, a professor of film and theater at the University of British Columbia, thinks “Opera Warriors” is an excellent combination of modern art and traditional history,  according to CBC News.

“We see this combination of modern theater and modern dance and being designed by this great team of designer[s] and that really shows where China is right now,” Liu told the source.

Although the show is premiering in the Western Hemisphere in Canada only for now, it’s promising to see martial arts take center stage in a theater production.