Cross Dressing in the "People's Republic"

From the Chinese "People's Daily On Line":

 "As the music rose, a fine-looking woman in ancient Chinese clothes appeared on the stage, waving her long sleeves and the ribbons tied to her wasp waist, delicate and graceful. Dancing and singing, she looked like a fairy on the cloud-shrouded stage and every tantalizing move aroused applause and ovations. This scene occurred at a concert in the Great Hall of the People at the end of 2012. The audience was thrilled not just because of the beauty of this woman, but because the performer was actually a man, Li Yugang, a male singer whose specialty is performing as ancient beauties. His imitation usually makes the audience forget about his gender. Li rose to fame in 2006 in a talent show with his cross-gender act (fanchuan art), a fresh form of stage art that combines make-up and performances. Since then, there has been an increase in the number of both performers and audiences for fanchuan. "Li launched a new era for this art, and it came at the right time," said Tang Yigang, a performing art commentator."


Fanchuan performers are usually mixed with nandan (men who play woman characters) in Peking Opera, because the former is kind of a derivative from the latter. "The performance pattern of nandan is fixed on stage. 100 nandan play one role exactly the same, while 100 fanchuan present 100 types of one role. It is more flexible and variable," Yang explained. In 2007, Yang became the first fanchuan performer on the stage of Vienna's Golden Hall.

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