East China Experimental Opera Troupe
Shanghai Opera and Dance Theater
At the end of 1951, the central government announced that the transition period had ended ahead of schedule, and all walks of life across the country would integrate from the war system to the peace building system, and fully transition to the stage of socialist construction. We also merged with Xinlu and Revolutionary University to form the East China Experimental Opera Troupe at the beginning of 52. (Note) The template is the Bolshoi Theatre. (The dean Zhang Tuo has been sent to the Soviet Union to study six months in advance.) The slogan is “Theatreization, Regularization, and Specialization”.
The first action of theatricalization, regularization, and specialization is professional refinement, and we can no longer fight as we did in the art troupe. I was in a singing team, and I practiced Italian bel canto with teacher Zheng Shumao “Mummy Mimi” every day, and rehearsed folk songs such as “Orchid Flower” or the musical “Four Sisters New Year”, and began to enter the life of a formal singer.
Everyone says that I have a golden voice, but unfortunately, I sing loudly like a Hongzhong, but it is too bright and straight. Once I use a beautiful voice and thin like a line, I am transferred to the dance team a few months later. Although I was still the youngest in the regiment at that time, I was 15 or 16 years old. Compared to the children who started professional training at the age of 8 or 9 now, I was really old. Moreover, if you bend over, move your legs, and measure your whole body according to the current enrollment, I am afraid that dancing will also be eliminated.
But there is no if, no matter what, I finally got on the dance boat. At that time, everyone’s yearning for “peace building” was enthusiastic and eager. “Like the Bolshoi Theatre”, the whole opera house was a common practice. After militarization, we were accustomed to being nervous and arduous. If you don’t eat breakfast, you should practice waist and leg exercises, stand upside down for less than three minutes, swing your waist a dozen times until your hands catch the ankle; kick at least a hundred times… Window carving”. The windows of the opera house building are high and narrow, just enough to stand a person, if you stand up and put your feet on the window mullions, the height of your legs will be at least 160 degrees. As a result, in the early morning, a beautiful sculpture set against the dawn appears in every window. Its posture is ever-changing, and men and women are different. When the singer woke up with sleepy eyes, we had finished a class, wiped our faces after breakfast, and went to ballet class again. After ballet is the basic training of classical dance. In the afternoon, classical dance swords, guns, figures, and folk dances. In the evening, they rehearse or study on their own. In a word, they are almost in the rehearsal hall from morning to night.
Two performance seasons a year. Performed in Shanghai in autumn (around National Day). The spring represents Shanghai to major cities. Most of them still inherited the revolutionary tradition, went to the mountains and the countryside, and shuttled between towns and cities. At the beginning, the program was inherited from Yan’an, which was still between the folk field self-entertainment form and the stage form. In addition to the Yangko waist drum, this “Dalianxiang” was also very popular at that time.
Looking at this photo from 65 years ago, I was really full of emotions. Many interesting scenes, like movie shots, came in front of my eyes. At that time, there were no theaters in the vast rural areas of China. The stages were all built up with door panels temporarily unloaded from the homes of ordinary people. Once in “Playing Lianxiang”, when it was Shu Qiao’s turn to lead the dance, how could she only listen to the voice of Lianxiang and not see her figure? She fell into a big gap and stuck to her thigh, but even though she couldn’t move, Shu Qiao was still dancing Lianxiang happily, leading everyone to continue dancing, and everyone happily followed the show to the end. It can be seen that at that time how passionate and simple we are. I don’t know if Qiaozijie, who is over 90, remembers this interesting story.
I wrote these fragments just to recall that we started from here and embarked on the ambitious journey of revitalizing Chinese dance art. The task of building China’s own music and dance profession lies in front of us, the first generation of professional dancers in New China, who are playing the drum of victory and twisting the liberation of Yangko to join the revolutionary artistic team. We learn from the effective experience of collecting and processing folk dances in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, and follow the slogan of “Rescue Legacy, Go Deep into Life”, and go deep into the village with our backpacks. Rescue excavation of endangered folk art. In accordance with the principle of “removing the dross and taking the essence”, screening, identification, development, and reconstruction are carried out. As a result, creative dances corresponding to dances passed down in nature are produced. Batch after batch of excellent repertoires that are popular among the masses have appeared, such as “Picking Tea and Fighting Butterflies”, “The Big Tea Mountain”, “Red Silk Dance”, “Running Donkey” and so on, which have been passed down to this day.
One of the most famous is the Anhui Huagu Lamp. (Note) It has more than 400 vocabularies and more than 50 basic steps. The movements are enthusiastic, unrestrained, vigorous and free and easy. Among them, the typical movements of Sandaowan emphasize the twisting of the waist, which is an important feature of Oriental dance “S” type. fully reflect. Actors have superb rolling skills and even difficult lifting movements, which are unique in Chinese dance. So much so that it won the reputation of “Oriental Ballet”.
After discovering such a rich mine, we who didn’t know where there was Chinese dance back then, of course, were like bees who found a large sea of flowers, naturally rushing to them. I went to Huaiyuan, Anhui to apprentice art three times, and it’s true. At that time, the “Huagu Lantern” of our opera house was very famous, and it was the finale of the party every time. The appearance is when the actress stands on the shoulders of the actor and rushes like a whirlwind, which stuns the audience at once.