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ASIAdocument.write(“” + m[today.getMonth()+1]+ ” “+ today.getDate()+”, ” + theYear + ” “);HOMECHINAWORLDBUSINESSLIFESTYLECULTURETRAVELSPORTSOPINIONREGIONALFORUMNEWSPAPERChina Daily PDFChina Daily E-paperChina Daily Global PDFChina Daily Global E-paperChina / PeopleHot IssuesGovernmentSocietyInnovationEducationCover StoryPeoplePhotosPerformer bares teeth in ancient artBy Shi Xiaofeng and Peng Yining in Ningbo, Zhejiang (China Daily) Updated:2015-06-15 07:44Comments Print Mail Large Medium Small 
Xue Qiaoping plays a fanciful bandit with buckteeth in Jinlian Zhanlong, a traditional Chinese opera performed in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, in 2014. Zhang Yongtao / for China DailyWomans appearance on television helps to revive interest in endangered traditional performanceXue Qiaoping is single-handedly trying to preserve the Chinese dramatic art of shuaya, or teeth playing.She performs the traditional Chinese opera Ninghai Flat Tone created by Zhejiang artists a century ago.Teeth playing requires performers to use the canine teeth of male pigs, usually 5 to 6 centimeters long, in their mouths.Xue often performs with 12 canine teeth at once. She uses her tongue and mouth to move the ends of the teeth swiftly in and out. Different movements of the teeth express different moods for the characters, who are usually villains or ghosts.The art of shuaya had been gradually disappearing until Xue caught the publics attention on the TV show Chinas Got Talent in 2011.Xue performed with a dozen teeth and was hailed by the audience as she spoke, sang and did acrobatic fighting at the same time.Since the TV appearance, Xue has been performing constantly, and a lot more people know about shuaya.”I do about 300 performances a year,” she said. “Its great that people like shuaya and my performance, but we need more people to participate in this art, or it is in danger of disappearing.”Xues career began at 16 when she was enrolled in the Shaoxing Opera Troupe of Ninghai county, Zhejiang province. Three years later, when the local cultural authority wanted to protect its ancient heritage, she was transferred to the Flat Tone troupe with seven others.Teeth playing isnt easy and can be painful at times. The hardship of learning the traditional performances soon scared away other prospective performers. Only Xue carried on.”I wanted to make a living,” she said. “At that time, my family lost its only income after my fisherman father got injured in an accident and had to give up working.”A month after she started to practice shuaya, her mouth was cut by the sharp ends of the teeth. Xue lost 6 kilograms in weight because she could hardly eat or drink and had to be fed intravenously.”I was under a lot of pressure to get on the stage as soon as possible,” she said. “I practiced at least nine hours a day.”Xue said she thought about giving up and making a living as a tailor or cosmetologist, a common choice for young women from poor families.”But I like performing,” she said. “And I take it as my responsibility to sustain the heritage.”Xue said her former boyfriend once asked her to choose between him and her career. He found teeth playing spooky, and it took up too much of her time. Xue chose her career.”People keep telling me that I am the only inheritor of the art, and if I were to give up the art would disappear,” she said.But now as mother of a 2-year-old daughter, Xue said she hopes more people will participate, “so I wont need to sacrifice so much for my family”.Xue said every time she gets home, her daughter asks when she is leaving again. “She asks me, Do you leave tonight? Tomorrow? The day after tomorrow? Wake me up if you leave at night,” Xue said. “Every time she says that tome, my eyes fill with tears.”Her performance on the talent show did spark peoples interest and several came to her opera troupe to learn shuaya. Six teenagers, four boys and two girls, are training to become shuaya artists, although it will take a few years before they can perform independently.Part of the reason for Xues punishing performance schedule across China is to attract more people take up the art.”The TV show and news coverage have given me a halo of fame. I can tell that students have come to me because they want the same thing,” said Xue. “I always tell them it is not easy to be a shuaya artist and make them fully realize the difficulties it involves.”In 2006, Ninghai Flat Tone was listed as a national cultural heritage. Xue has since performed in Europe, including France, Germany and Belgium.”I am glad to see that shuaya has been accepted by more people,” she said. “I hope my students do not have to sacrifice as much as I did.”Contact the writers through pengyining@chinadaily.com.cn8.03KPhotoNight views of Harbin through the lensTibetans take train home after pilgrimage or travellingWorlds largest shaftless Ferris wheel built in ChinaAncient cities to be connected by Xian-Chengdu high-speed railwaySnow turns Harbin into winter wonderlandReed Catkin Festival held in WuhanSocietyPoliticsHot TopicsScience/TechBusinessCover StoryFTZ simplifies process to launch businessesJapan can offer experience, expat saysApplication for work streamlinedAwareness of law aids resolutionAir Force units explore new airspaceLow wages and lack of respect responsible for kindergarten abuse, experts sayLiu heralds UK partnership in education and researchAgency ensuring natural gas supplyUN envoys trip to DPRK praised by BeijingChina moves to secure natural gas supply amid rising winter demandXi asks China, Canada to work for substantial tiesCooperation necessary for success, leaders sayLiving in space: How astronauts train, eat and workTeachers excused for lunchtime drinksWaiting for Shenzhou XICancer agent found in 44 cities drinking waterAt Ikea eatery, its no pay, no stayChina lose 2-0 to Uzbekistan in World Cup qualifier, coach Gao resignsC919 gains another 55 orders, lifting total orders to 785Services offset dip in manufacturingFintech to energize real economy, cut risksChinas Long March rockets complete 60 commercial launchesEngineers achieve breakthroughChina-made components add securityOnline shopping rings up customer complaintsImport expo to focus on advanced techSME mobile market platform receives first clientsChina top importer of US soybeansAir China opens direct route from Beijing to BarcelonaInsurance-based trust launchedDandelion helping to sow the seeds of stability for membersCover storyVisa change may boost tourism to USThe wrong side of the roadBuilding ban begins to biteVillagers call on Japan to atone for massacreMost ViewedTodays Top NewsChina to speed up restructuring of zombie SOEsSingapore plays positive role in ties between mainland and TaiwanSuccess of Fox Hunt campaign continuesSOE changes aim to improve efficiencyMajor farm reform on the horizonDeadline set for hukou revisionsTibetans weave faith into musicXi-Ma meet to lead cross-Strait high-level exchangesEnglish skills slip in China: surveyXi to meet Taiwan leader in SingaporeIn todays trending, a primary school teaches hundreds of square dances, Hebei sets record for worlds longest BBQ skewer, and college students compete to climb trees for sport.HighlightsBoondocks ballet boosts girls moraleChina Mars probe featured at Shanghai industry fairMore Japanese students prefer Chinese mainland to USLooking to a new generation for regenerationHot TopicsGround level Rule of law Panda China youths Anti-terror drive Family planning Smog Fox Hunt Beijing integrates with Tianjin, Hebei China cracks down on graftSpecial5th Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central CommitteeChina Legal Information Center…| About China Daily | Advertise on Site | Contact Us | Job Offer | Expat Employment |Copyright 1995 -var oTime = new Date();
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