Updated: 2012-03-29 08:06
Traditional street performers
Comment on "New York always plays my kind of tune" (China Daily, March 23)
I think the author has portrayed a delightful and romantic scenario of street music in New York. The author's description of street performers in New York reminds me of those who existed in Beijing in the old days, although I am not sure if they could be regarded as the Chinese equivalents of New York street performers.
They used to be groups of people that earned a living through performing, whether it was as musicians, acrobatics or magicians. They usually performed around the streets without any fixed venues. Around the Tianqiao area there used to be lots of street performances, which were quite professional, entertaining and loved by ordinary people. Scenes of such performances have been vividly portrayed in TV dramas, adding a kind of joyful atmosphere to the ancient city.
As far as I know, the number of street performers has been dwindling over the past decades. Now such traditional street performances can only be enjoyed in temple fairs during Spring Festival holidays. The outdoor performance sites have gradually been replaced by theaters, teahouses and so on, perhaps street performing has not disappeared, but evolved into a new form.
Mandy Li, via e-mail
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(China Daily 03/29/2012 page9)