National First-Class Kunqu Performer Visits YCIS

This month, YCIS Shanghai invited Ms Yili Shen, a national first-class performer of Kunqu Opera, to the Century Park Campus for a very special presentation. Kunqu Opera, which originated in the Suzhou area of China and is one of the most ancient genres of Chinese dramas, has been declared a world intangible heritage by UNESCO.

Ms Shen graduated from Shanghai Theatre Academy and has been working in Kunqu for more than 30 years. During her presentation to the Secondary students, Ms Shen shared her experiences and insights from her career. She also provided some sound advice for those students interested in a career in performing arts. She said, “For an actor, even if you are in one opera many times, each time is unique because you grow different emotions and an understanding of the words. The rhythm of your performance is then distinct each time.”

Ms Shen also performed a section of “Peony Pavilion”, called “Dream in the Deserted Garden”. This was also linked to the novel “Dream in the Deserted Garden”, and for the YCIS Secondary students currently studying Chinese literature, Ms Shen’s performance provided them with a new perspective that they can apply when further analysing and reading the novel.

Traditional performances and guests, like Ms Shen, are a regular occurrence at YCIS campuses to help encourage an appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture for the school’s international students. To learn more about the Chinese Language and Culture Programme at the school, click here.

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