live events china

The Top 5 Live Performances to See in China

When people think of China, it’s usually the Great Wall, dumplings and temples that come to mind.

This mindset is founded, but China also offers some great gems to experience the culture. Underneath the hustle and bustle of the great cities and the beauty of its natural scenery, China has some talented acts that visitors can experience to deeper their understanding and love for the country.

From theater and acrobatics to musicals and dance, a trip to China can be even more entertaining than you may have thought.

Tea Show in Wuyishan

If you’re interested in Chinese tea, this gorgeous mountain town is the place to visit. Home to some of China’s oldest tea trees, the entire town has been built around the tea trade.

There are tiered tea plantations to tour, tea eggs to buy as a snack, and plenty of shops that will let you taste test before buying some to of the finest tea take home.

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Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) is the tea that Wuyishan is most famous for and thus, the star of the Da Hong Pao Tea Show.

With over 100 performers, the show lasts for 70 minutes, telling the significant story of the tea through song, dance, acrobatics and light shows.

The audience is seated on a platform that turns 360 degrees, allowing for different angles of the mountains, ponds and hologram effects.

Plus, at the end, the performers come around with samples of the tea for the audience to sample.

Source: Flickr

Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe

It won’t be difficult to track down an acrobatics show when visiting Shanghai. These acts are in theaters all over the city offering an entertaining night out for visitors.

China has been long known for its acrobats and the discipline is still going strong amongst many of China’s people.

Watch trapeze artists and gasp as performers pile on top of each other from the floor all the way to the ceiling.

They are known to bend their bodies into strange positions and have the audience on the edge of their seats, wondering how their bodies can physically do what seems to be impossible.

Try catching a show at the Centre Theater, Huxi Grand Theater or Circus World.

Source: Flickr

Beijing Opera

With a history of more than 200 years, the Beijing Opera gives visitors a chance to not only enjoy a night of entertainment but to also form a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture.

Each show is composed of singing, dancing, miming, acrobatic fighting and dialogue to represent the emotions of the characters. Also referred to as Peking Opera, the performances have been around since the 18th century and have been considered one of the country’s cultural treasures.

Guests will get to experience the elaborate costumes, makeup, music and movements that portray folklore, history  and contemporary life. Try to catch a show at the Liyuan Theater, Zhengyici Theater or the Huguang Guild Hall.

Source: Flickr

Kung Fu Show

As one of the longest enduring sports, Kung Fu is characterized by self defence, self discipline, art and exercise.

With a theory based on Chinese philosophy, the practice was initially used as a sect of training for hunting back in the primeval days.

Made popular by stars like Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, Kung Fu shows in China are a way for tourists to connect with one of their favourite genres of films. Some of the most popular shows to check out when in Beijing are the Legend of Kung Fu at The Red Theater and the Shaolin Temple Kung Fu show.

Source: Flickr

Lion Dances on Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a fantastic time to visit China as the decorations and celebrations surely liven up the scene.

During this time of year, there are performances all over the country involving light shows and most importantly, the lion dance. Dressed in costume, designated drummers will follow around the lion, creating the beats to which it dances through the streets.

The lion is typically made from the efforts of 4 or more performers who sport a lion or dragon costume over their bodies with the front being the head and the back acting as the tail.

Typically, they parade down the streets or pop up in public places like shopping centers for impromptu shows. Try catching them at the Flower Fairs of Xihu, Tianhe or Liwan in Guangzhou or at the Dongyue Temple Fair in Beijing.

Spend time exploring China’s famous sites is highly recommended but don’t forget to check out some of these internationally loved performances that display both Chinese culture and their unique entertainment.


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Shannon Ullman

Hey! I'm a published American travel blogger and teacher. My travel writing has been featured on Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Matador Network and Thought Catalog. I spent over a year living and traveling around China while I taught English there. I have also visited dozens of other countries around the world.