Opera Professor Turns Classrooms into Performance Stages

 March 27, 2024
Opera Professor Turns Classrooms into Performance Stages
Chen Li, an inheritor of Jiangxi opera, puts on actual opera performances in her classroom. [Xinhua]

An optional college course named "Appreciation of the Jiangxi Opera" has been taught in a packed house recently at Nanchang University in East China's Jiangxi Province due to the professor's innovative way of teaching — putting on actual opera performances in her classrooms.

Waving water sleeves, and spinning folding fans while wearing traditional makeup and costumes, Chen Li, the instructor of this course, displayed the enchanting charm of Jiangxi Opera, a several-hundred-year-old local opera, in front of the students.

Many of performers recorded the performances and posted the video clips of the class on social media platforms, receiving millions of views and likes from netizens.

Not only as a college professor, Chen is also the inheritor of Jiangxi opera, one of the national intangible cultural heritages, and holds the esteemed position as a national first-class actor and the director at the Culture and Art Center of Jiangxi Opera in Nanchang University.

The course which she teaches has been open for many years, mainly introducing the history, tunes and performance characteristics of Jiangxi Opera. It's not well known that this course, which is full of people now, was originally rarely attended.

"Before, I used to focus on the form of speech and lectures while the teaching effect was unsatisfying: the classroom was quiet and the students seemed uninterested, many even playing on their phones in class," said Chen.

To stir the enthusiasm of students, Chen decided to put on a costume and turn the class into a stage to perform. With traditional garments and brandishing water sleeves, students are immersed in the world of Jiangxi Opera.

Instead of adopting the traditional form of stage play, Chen devotes more attention to her students' interactive experience. "I invite my students to come to the stage and experience the whole process of the performance by themselves," Chen added.

"This teaching method is highly innovative and the learning experience is truly amazing," said Zhang Xizhi, a student at the School of Art at Nanchang University, who did not expect that the unpopular Jiangxi Opera could be so captivating.

Faced with the unexcepted fame, Chen was satisfied but also realized that a greater responsibility now rested on her shoulders.

"I hope that even though the popularity of the Jiangxi Opera wanes, this art can still be passed down through generations," Chen said.


(Source: chinadaily.com.cn)


Please understand that womenofchina.cn,a non-profit, information-communication website, cannot reach every writer before using articles and images. For copyright issues, please contact us by emailing: website@womenofchina.cn. The articles published and opinions expressed on this website represent the opinions of writers and are not necessarily shared by womenofchina.cn.