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Musical brings martial arts master's story to Beijing stage

2023/5/18 9:26:31   source:CGTN

Yongchun Fist, an ancient Chinese martial arts branch, embodies grace, power, and the spirit of traditional combat. A musical focusing on Liang Zan, the founder of "offsetting body Yongchun," has been recently created by the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater and put on stage at Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center.

Tracing the origins of their martial arts skills to master Liang Zan, most of the Yongchun descendants worldwide are from Liang's lineage, including legends Yip Man and Bruce Lee. The musical "focuses on the inheritance of Yongchun, conveying the spirit of martial arts and Chinese traditional culture," as Zhong Hao, the director of the musical "Yongchun" put it.

In the play, the tale of martial arts master Liang unfolds with melodic grace. Born in the 19th century, Liang learned martial arts from a young age. He defied tradition, teaching martial arts to whoever would like to learn, in order to protect and empower his nation against Western invaders. Every role’s vocal expression in the musical has been purposefully designed.

"Liang Zan possesses a forbearing and strong character. In his vocal performances, we can hear both tender and soaring tones, representing the ups and downs of his journey towards becoming a Yongchun master," said Zheng Xinwendi, vocal director of the musical.

To better understand the essence of this martial art, the musical cast and crew made several visits to Liang’s hometown of Gulao Town, Jiangmen City, in Guangdong over the past few months.

Actor Ma Tianlong plays master Liang Zan in the musical. "It's quite challenging for me. Once I remember the moves, I might struggle with remembering the lines. And when I remember the lines, I sometimes forget how to sing them or lose my rhythm. It's quite complex," he said.

Although a challenge to perform on stage, the practice of Yongchun is accessible and easy to learn for the general public. As a result, it has gained a large fan base worldwide over the centuries.

"Chinese martial arts primarily focus on self-defense and avoiding conflict. If a situation requires action, the goal is to end it quickly and efficiently. Yongchun follows this concept and is relatively easy to practice. People can even practice it at home," said Gao Ganghua, deputy director of the Jiangmen Municipal Publicity Department.

As Yongchun expands its influence to various artistic forms, Gao envisions its cultural significance and impact on Chinese history becoming more widely recognized and revered.

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