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The Soul of Beijing OperaTheatrical Creativity and Continuity in the Changing World$
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Ruru Li

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099944

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099944.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use (for details see www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 January 2019

Cheng Yanqiu —

Cheng Yanqiu —

Masculinity and Femininity

(p.82) (p.83) 3 Cheng Yanqiu —
The Soul of Beijing Opera

Eugenio Barba

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter discusses why the practice of the male dan (male actor playing female roles) flourished in this period despite public censure on moral grounds. It examines how Cheng Yanqiu, a male dan, transformed the role's performance art by giving his female characters a strong personality. It describes Cheng Yanqiu (1904–58), as one of the Four Great (male) Dan who specialized in the qingyi role. It further describes that Cheng was a middle-aged man, 5 feet 9 inches tall, heavily built and weighing about 200 pounds, with hands that had become rough and covered in calluses through working in the fields harvesting sweet corn and sesame seed.

Keywords:   male dan, public censure, Cheng Yanqiu, performance art, female characters

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