Nearly every region of China has developed its own stunning variety of performance art. We’ve compiled the coolest shows worth buying a ticket for.
China’s rich history has allowed for the development of nuanced, artistic performances. With shows that employ nature as the backdrop to the myths and legends of ethnic minorities to the discipline of Kung Fu and the dazzle of Sichuan Opera, China is full of entertaining and enthralling performances.
Here’s a curated selection of some of the most amazing performances you can watch across China today:
Shanghai: ERA – The Intersection of Time
ERA – The Intersection of Time is THE acrobatics show to see in Shanghai. With dazzling gymnastic and special effects tied together through a narrative of China’s past, present and future, this is a show which has stunned foreigners and locals alike and rapidly become a ‘must see’ item on any tourist’s agenda.
Take a private tour through Shanghai on our Shanghai Highlife Tour.
Beijing: Beijing’s Chaoyang Theater
- The famous flying acrobats at Beijing’s Chaoyang Theater offer a show which is both visually stunning and beautifully choreographed. If you’re into acrobatics, you’ll love it!
- The Zhengyici Peking Opera Theater is among the most historical wooden theaters in China, and the perfect location to experience Beijing Opera. As singers wail out tragic ballads in elaborate costumes, you’ll be sitting in ancient surroundings, watching a performance that could date back to the 18th century.
Hendrik Terbeck via Flickr
- The story of a young boy on the quest to become a Kungfu Master is told every night at the Red Theater in Beijing’s Dongcheng district. Blending martial arts techniques with ballet and modern theatre, The Legend of Kungfu has enthralled audiences since 2004.
You can visit the exquisite theaters of Beijing on our private tour: Beijing’s Past and Future.
Guilin: Impression Sanjie Liu
- With the Li River as the stage and jagged green mountains as the background, the Impression Sanjie Liu in Yangshuo near Guilin reenacts the daily lives on the Zhuang people. Involving hundreds of performers and in a setting which is a natural work of art in itself, this show is well worth braving the great outdoors.
Daniel via Flickr
Take a trip to Guilin to view this natural human wonder on our Guilin: Into the Scroll tour.
Hangzhou: Impression West Lake
- Set on a lake on a specially built stage just a few centimeters below the surface, Impression West Lake in Hangzhou employs not only the beauty of nature but also one of China’s most accomplished directors to tell a traditional Hangzhou love story. Man is mortal, the tale goes, but love never dies. In such a beautiful setting you may just believe it – if only for a moment.
Behold a beautiful love story in Hangzhou on our Hangzhou: Marco Polo’s Paradise on Earth tour.
Lijiang: Impression Lijiang
- Performed in front of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountains, and also directed by Zhang Yimou whose credits include the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, Impression Lijiang features 400 performers of China’s Bai, Yi and Naxi minorities in an energetic show lasting for about 1 hour.
Lijiang is a highlight on our Yunnan: South of the Clouds tour.
Chengdu: Shufengya Yun
- With a deft flick of the wrist the actor’s mask changes. Blink, and the blue mask becomes green. Blink again, and the same performer leers down with yet another face. Both funny and confronting, Sichuan Opera at Chengdu’s Shufengya Yun is traditional performance at its most gripping.
Join the action of this traditional mask performance on our Chengdu: Panda Country tour.
Xi’an: Tang Yue Gong
- During the Tang Dynasty Xi’an, then known as Chang’an, was the imperial capital of China. The Tang Yue Gong Tang Dynasty Music and Dance show gives you a glimpse into the spirit of that time, an age of prosperity and culture. A thriving performance since the ‘80s, Tang Yue Gong has toured extensively overseas.
XIan is a great place to see the terracotta warriors and this traditional Tang dynasty show. Step into the past with our Xi’an: Warriors and Emperors tour.
Zhangjiajie: Charming Xianxi Theatre
- The Charming Xianxi Theatre performance leaves it all on the table with acrobats, dance and a fantastic electronic laser light show to boot! With the outdoor segment complemented by the beautiful local scenery you’ll enjoy a show worthy of a far larger town.
Zhangjiajie is home to this charming performance and the mountains used in the movie Avatar. Check out China’s Avatar Mountains tour.
Xiaolin Temple (Shaolin Temple): Shaolin Temple’s Kungfu Performance
Kevin Poh via Flickr
- Journey to Mount Song in China’s Henan Province and witness the legendary Shaolin Temple’s Kungfu Performance. Highlighting the skill and discipline that can only be attained through years of dedication, you’ll watch dozens of disciples performing feats of near magic agility and strength.
This performance is awesome for having family fun. Join us on our Family Kung Fu and Kicks tour, and your kids will feast their eyes on this exciting show.
With it’s diverse regional history and unique preservation of culture, China is home to numerous spellbinding performances that are fun for adults and kids alike. These are merely a few examples of the vast array of performance art available for tourists in China.
If these contorting performers have piqued your interest, consider joining WildChina on the Chinese Treasures tour. We have individual tours to all of these regions, and joining the Chinese Treasures tour will take you to a few of the hotspots. You’re in for the performances of a lifetime.