Foreigners Challenge Beijing Opera (Advanced)

Foreigners Challenge Beijing Opera (Advanced)

In this video, four foreigners “challenged” the four “京剧 (jīngjù) Beijing Opera” performers by showing off their moves. What these foreigners did is also called “叫板 (jiàobǎn),” which means “to  challenge somebody” in daily life. Originally in Beijing Opera, “叫板 (jiàobǎn)” means to rhythmize the end of a spoken part in an opera.

“京剧 (jīngjù) Beijing Opera,” which is based on Anhui Opera and Han Opera, absorbed the essence of Kunqu Opera, Qin Opera and finally took its form in 1840s. It is the quintessence of Chinese theatre art and has a history of nearly 200 years.

Generally speaking, there are five roles in Beijing Opera. They are “生 (shēng),” which usually refers to the male role; “旦 (dàn),” the female; “净 (jìng),” both male and female; “末 (mò),” middle-aged male; and finally, “丑 (chǒu),” male role.

The performers in the video were playing a military character “武生 (wǔshēng)”, one of the subdivisions of “生 (shēng).” We can conclude easily from its name that “武生 (wǔshēng) a fighting or military character” would always fight on the stage.

生词 (shēngcí) Vocabulary

京剧(jīngjù): n Beijing Opera

“京 (jīng)” is the short name for “北京 (běijīng) Beijing.” “剧 (jù)” means opera or drama.


Kāishǐ Tāngmǔ duì jīngjù yìwúsuǒzhī, dànshì xiànzài tā yǐjīng huì xīnshǎng
开始    汤姆      对 京剧  一无所知,   但是     现在    他  已经 会   欣赏
jīngjù le
京剧 了。
Tom knew nothing about Beijing Opera at first, but now he began to enjoy it.

叫板 (jiàobǎn): v to challenge

“叫 (jiào)” means to shout. “板 (bǎn)” means board. The original meaning of this expression remains only in the opera. People now use it most of the time to refer to challenge in daily life


Zuòwéi yígè pǔtōngrén, tā gǎn jiàobǎn quánwēi, bìng zhǐchū le tāmen de
作为    一个    普通人, 他   敢    叫板   权威,    并     指出    了 他们 的
As an ordinary person, he is willing to challenge the authority and point out their mistakes.

武生(wǔshēng): n a fighting or military character in drama or opera

“武 (wǔ)” means military. “生 (shēng)” means male.


Tā zuì shàncháng yǎn wǔshēng.
他 最   擅长           演     武生。
He is good at performing the fighting character in the Beijing opera.


General Chinese (Intermediate Level) 
Chinese Culture 

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