Top 10 China Cultural Shows
China has a long history and a vast territory, and it is also a multi-ethnic country. These factors have created a profound civilization and brilliant culture in China. Watching a Chinese cultural show is a good experience during your China tour. Whether the northern cities of Beijing and Xi'an or the southern cities of Shanghai and Guilin, there are very local and ethnic cultural performances for travelers to choose from.
Most of the cultural shows are held at night. After traveling in the scenic spot during the daytime, it is also a relaxing way to sit down and enjoy the performance at night. Certainly, there are also large-scale performances that take place during the day. For example, the performance with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain as the background is held in the daytime in Lijiang, which is very original and shocking. Here we carefully pick the 10 most worth watching cultural shows in China, which can make your tour to China more memorable.
Beijing: Beijing Opera at Liyuan Theatre
Beijing Opera is the most influential type of opera in China, with Beijing as the center and all over China. Beijing Opera is a traditional treasure of China and regarded as China's quintessence. It was formed in Beijing around 1840 and prevailed in the 1930s and 1940s. Beijing Opera was sometimes called "National drama" and was a great drama with national influence.
Beijing opera takes historical stories as the main performance content, coupled with accompaniment instruments and stage props so that it constitutes a complete, mature, and standardized form of performance in literature, performance, music, singing, gongs and drums, and makeup.
There are several places in Beijing to watch Peking Opera performances, here we recommend the Liyuan Theater. It's the first tea-seat theater in Beijing jointly opened by Beijing Qianmen Hotel and Beijing Peking Opera Theater in October 1990. With a total of 800 seats, the theater is similar to the traditional opera theater where audiences can enjoy a variety of Beijing snacks and Chinese tea while enjoying the opera performances. The exhibition hall contains the exhibition of the history of Peking Opera art over 200 years.
- Admission: CN¥ 280-580 Per Person
- Performance time: 19:30-20:40
- Recommended watching hours: 1-3 hours
- Location: 1st Floor, Qianmen Jianguo Hotel, No.175 Yong'an Road, Xicheng District, Beijing
Beijing: Shaolin Kungfu Show at Beijing Red Theate
Kung Fu, also known as Chinese Kung Fu or Chinese Traditional Martial Arts. It is the crystallization of the wisdom of the Chinese nation and the embodiment of Chinese traditional culture. Kung fu emphasizes both hardness and softness, and both internal and external cultivation. It has not only the appearance of virility and male beauty but also the connotation of elegance and profoundness. It contains the enlightenment of ancient sages on life and the universe. Chinese Kungfu has a wide influence in the world, and many foreign tourists even take a tour to China in order to see and learn Kungfu up close. If you don't have time to see and learn Kung Fu at the Shaolin Temple. You may consider experiencing an authentic and exciting Kung Fu show in the evening when you are traveling in Beijing.
The Red Theater located in the Chongwen District of Beijing is the best choice for enjoying the pure Kung Fu show. The large-scale stage Kung Fu drama "Legend of Kung Fu" has been performed continuously for 16 consecutive years since it was first performed in 2004, and has been enjoyed by audiences from various countries. The story takes place in an ancient temple on the mountain. It tells the story of a younger monk, Chunyi, who says goodbye to his mother then goes inside the mountains to pay his obeisance to the master. After many tests such as enlightenment, learning, casting, and thinking, he finally becomes a great master of the generation, the eternal life theme of "suffering and growth".
- Admission: CN¥ 180-680 Per Person
- Performance time: 17:15-18:30 and 19:30-20:50, two performances a day
- Location: No. 44, Xingfu Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Xi'an: Tang Dynasty Show
When people talk about Xi'an, they will think of the Terracotta Warriors, one of the eight wonders of the world. Xi'an, a city that has experienced the rise and fall of 13 dynasties, is like a huge museum. The long history has created the origin of the humanities. Watching a cultural performance in Xi'an is one of the best ways to get to know the Xi'an and Chinese culture.
The most famous and distinctive cultural shows in Xi'an is the imitation and restoration of Tang Dynasty (618-907 Year) song and dance performances. This kind of performance combines music, dance and poetry into one art form, which is characterized by both singing and dancing and expressing emotions simultaneously. Therefore, from ancient to the present, it is deeply welcomed by the Chinese people. There are three performances we’d like to recommend, you can choose one of them to watch according to your preferences and travel itinerary: ‘The Song of Everlasting Sorrow’, ‘Dream of Chang'an -- Grand Ceremony of Welcoming Guests in Tang’, ‘Tang Palace’.
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow
In Huaqing Palace, the place where the historical story actually took place, high-tech stage lighting was used to combine historical stories with live performances to reproduce the touching love story between Emperor Ming and the imperial concubine Yang in Huaqing Palace more than 1,300 years ago.
- Admission: CN¥ 238-988 Per Person
- Performance time: 20:30-21:40 (Mon-Thu); 20:10-21:20 and 21:40-22:50 (Fri-Sun)
- Location: Huaqing Lake Scenic Area, No. 38 Huaqing Road, Lintong District, Xi'an
Dream of Chang'an -- Grand Ceremony of Welcoming Guests in Tang
The performance started with the welcome ceremony of the prosperous Tang Dynasty, which blended the history of the ancient capital of the 13 dynasties with the humanistic customs along the Silk Road. The performance is very grand and magnificent, you will feel the splendid prosperous age of the Tang Dynasty.
- Admission: CN¥ 260-580 Per Person
- Performance time: 20:30-21:30 (Tue-Sun, mid Apr - early Nov)
- Location: South Gate Wengcheng, South Gate Cultural Etiquette Square, Xi'an
The plot follows empress Wu Zetian from the time she was chosen to serve at the palace at the age of 14 to the time she ascended the throne at the age of 67. The whole play features palace music from the Tang Dynasty, and its palace music performance is the best of all the stage music in Xi'an.
- Admission: CN¥ 218 Per Person
- Performance time: 20:00-21:10
- Location: No. 75 Chang'an North Road, Beilin District, Xi'an
Chengdu: Sichuan Opera
When traveling to Chengdu, besides visiting the giant panda base during the day, watching a Sichuan opera performance at night is another highlight. Sichuan Opera is one of the types of Chinese opera, popular in Sichuan, Chongqing, and parts of Guizhou and Yunnan. It is a traditional drama that combines a variety of singing and musical instruments, as well as the art of Sichuan folk lantern opera.
Face-changing is one of the special effects of Sichuan opera. It is used to reveal the changes in the characters' hearts, thoughts and feelings in the play, that is, to turn invisible and insensible abstract emotions and psychological states into visible and sensible concrete images-facial makeup. It has become a major feature of Sichuan Opera.
Founded in 1998, Shu Feng Ya Yun theater presents the unique folk art and classic opera of Sichuan in an all-round way. It is a large multifunctional theater in Sichuan province, which integrates traditional Chinese art performances, folk unique stunts, traditional Chinese opera, and drama. While watching a Sichuan opera performance, travelers can also taste the unique Sichuan bowl tea and snacks.
- Admission: CN¥ 120-400 Per Person
- Performance time: 20:00-21:30
- Location: No. 136 Qintai Road, Qingyang District, Chengdu
Guilin & Yangshuo: Impression Liu Sanjie
Yangshuo is an indispensable important chapter in the Guilin landscape, in addition to the world-famous scenic spot of Li River, Yangshuo also has a stunning performance of 'Impression Liu Sanjie'. Impression Liu Sanjie is a large-scale live performance of Guilin's landscape and the core project of China's Li River Landscape Theater. It is the first "landscape performance" in China.
Impression Liu Sanjie is inherited from the legend of Liu Sanjie, a singer of Guangxi, but it is not limited to the story of one person. Instead, it uses the composition and technique of Chinese traditional painting to blend into the real mountains and waters and combines the unique rhythm and rhyme of minority songs to bring the music along the Li River. The natural scenery, the life and work of fishermen and villagers, and the folk customs of ethnic minorities are integrated and presented through visual effects and artistic arrangement. It's the biggest showcase of the customs of Guangxi Zhuang, Yao, Miao, Dong, and other ethnic minorities, as well as the scenery, ordinary people‘s lives around the Li River.
- Admission: CN¥ 198-680 Per Person
- Performance time: 20:00-21:10 and 21:35-22:45 (in Summer); 19:30-20:40 and 21:05-22:15 (in Winter).
- Location: No. 1, Tianyuan Road, Yangshuo County, Guilin
Shanghai: Acrobatic Show
Acrobatics is also used as "miscellaneous tricks." Refers to jiu-jitsu, bicycle skills, ventriloquism, top bowl, tightrope walking, magic and other skills. Modern acrobatics refers to a series of difficult movements performed by actors relying on their body skills. Acrobatic art has a history of more than 2,000 years in China. Chinese acrobatic art has won the appreciation and love of audiences at home and abroad with its unparalleled superb skills, gorgeous multi-layered traditional programs, and unique and distinctive national style.
Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe is a well-known professional acrobatics performance group in China. It is at the top level in China and even the world in terms of scale, capital, and art. It enjoys a high reputation and reputation both in China and abroad. They will take turns to perform in various theaters in Shanghai, and even tour throughout China. The variety of the program is novel and unique, and the performance style is breathtaking and beautiful, which is well worth seeing.
- Admission: CN¥ 180-380 Per Person
- Performance time: 19:30-21:00
- Shangcheng Theater: 4th Floor, Portman Hotel, No. 1376 Nanjing West Road, Jing'an District, Shanghai.
- Yunfeng Theater: No. 1700 Beijing West Road, Jing'an District, Shanghai.
- Magnolia Theatre: No.308 Chongqing South Road, Luwan District, Shanghai.
- Shanghai Gong Stage: No. 433 Yan'an East Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai.
- Shanghai Circus World: No. 2266, Gonghe New Road, Zhabei District, Shanghai.
- Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe Performance: No. 205 Wuning Road, Putuo District, Shanghai.
Zhangjiajie: Xiangxi Cultural Performance
Zhangjiajie is an area inhabited by ethnic minorities, and the characteristics of ethnic minorities are good at singing and dancing. Therefore, after seeing the amazing scenery at the Zhangjiajie parks during the day, watching a live cultural performance at night is a good leisure and entertainment activity. There are two well-known performances worth seeing in Zhangjiajie.
It is a large-scale bonfire dance party. You can see the performances of the three ancient mysteries of Xiangxi, the Tujia crying marriage, the magical technique of ghosts and the corpse chasing in Xiangxi. A variety of wonderful ethnic customs and unique skills will open your eyes, and the stage The sound and light effects are also quite amazing.
- Admission: CN¥ 228 to 288 Per Person
- Performance time: 19:00-20:30 or 20:30-22:00
- Location: Meili Xiangxi Square, entrance of Wulingyuan District, Zhangjiajie
Tianmen Fox Fairy-New Liu Hai Chopping Woods
The story is based on the traditional Hunan flower drum opera "Liu Hai Cuts the Woods", the white fox fairy and the woodcutter Liu Hai have a touching love between humans and foxes, which is based on which artistic recreation is carried out. In addition to modern high-tech stage special effects technology, the entire performance is a successful innovation in world music and dance drama.
- Admission: CN¥ 198-880 Per Person
- Performance time: 20:15-21:50
- Location: Tianmen Huxian Canyon Theater, Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie
Kunming: Dynamic Yunnan
'Dynamic Yunnan' is a new stage work that combines tradition and modernity. It integrates and reconstructs the original folk song and dance essence and folk dance classics, showing the rich ethnic customs of Yunnan. ‘Dynamic Yunnan’ is not a sudden emergence, but an inheritance of the national soul and roots. 70% of the performers in the song and dance ensemble come from local ethnic minority actors in various prefectures in Yunnan and even in the fields. The performance costumes are restored to the life prototype of the folk costumes of various ethnic groups in Yunnan.
Since its first performance in Kunming Hall in August 2003, ‘Dynamic Yunnan’ has been officially performed in more than 500 performances in China, and more than 160 performances have been held in more than a dozen countries including the United States. If you must choose one cultural show to enjoy during your Yunnan tour, this would be your first choice.
- Admission: CN¥ 148-348 Per Person
- Performance time: 20:00-21:30
- Location: Yunnan Image Theater, No. 2999-1, Biji Road, Xishan District, Kunming
Hangzhou: Impressive West Lake
If travelers plan to add Hangzhou to their China private tours, then the real-life landscape performance 'Impression West Lake' should not be missed, after seeing the picturesque west lake and surrounding sites.
The Impression West Lake show takes the rich history, humanities, and beautiful natural scenery of West Lake as its creative source, and digs deep into Hangzhou’s ancient folk legends and myths, and reproduces the representative elements of West Lake’s humanities and history. At the same time, it uses high-tech techniques to recreate "West Lake". Through dynamic interpretation and real-life performance, the entire landscape performance will condense the urban connotation and natural landscape of Hangzhou into a high-level artistic feast.
- Admission: CN¥ 260-600 Per Person
- Performance time: 19:45-20:45, sometimes will hold 2nd batch in weekend 21:15-22:15
- Location: No. 82 Beishan Road, Xihu District, Hangzhou
Lijiang: Impressive Lijiang
‘Impression Lijiang’ is another large-scale live performance after ‘Impression Liu Sanjie’. The performance theater is located at an altitude of 3,050 meters in the world's highest live performance venue: Ganhaizi, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Scenic Area. It is currently the only live performance performed during the day. The first part of the original ecological large-scale live performance is ‘Impression of Snow Mountain’, and the second part is ‘Impression of Ancient City’. With the snow-capped mountains as the background, drawing on the spirit of the heavens and the earth, taking the essence of nature, using folk culture as the carrier, with generous freehand brushwork, at the highest performance in the world at 3100 meters above sea level, the truth and shock of life are so close to everyone.
There is no so-called theme or a specific story in ‘Impression of Lijiang’, but to express the individual experience of the three directors in Lijiang. The first part is a dialogue with the mountain, which shows that people come to Lijiang from all sides to experience the close relationship between life and nature. The second part is to have a dialogue with life through people hiking the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and visiting the ancient city of Lijiang. The third part will be a dialogue with ancestors, which is found in the dialogue throughout the ages, there has always been a sacred kingdom deep in people's hearts.
- Admission: CN¥ 190-260 Per Person
- Performance time: 11:10-12:15 or 13:30-14:35
- Location: Lanyuegu Theater, Ganhaizi, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Lijiang