Taiwan Fun Magazine, November 2006

National Taiwan Junior College of Performing Arts

---By Claire Tyrell Translated by Liu Fang Through
Photos by National Taiwan Junior College of Performing Arts

177, NeiHu Rd, Sec. 2
(02) 2796-2666
10 am-11:45 am
Performance days/times: Monday and Thursday (except holidays) 10 am-11:45 am
NT$400/200 (concessions)

I had gasped in awe at the acrobatic feats during the first half--some of the most exhilarating I've seen--and as "monkey" tumbled with boundless energy across the stage for the umpteenth time to the rousing metallic beats of Beijing opera, I realised I was developing an irreversible passion for an art form I had previously approached with skepticism or bewilderment.

On Monday and Thursday mornings, the NTJCPA Neihu campus (easily accessible by bus) puts on performances to illustrate these two arts as executed with finesse by their elite group of artists.
The college is the first vocational school of its kind in Taiwan to offer 10 years of continual education in performing arts with choices including Chinese, Taiwanese or Hakka opera, acrobatics and dance, traditional music or theatre arts. The dedication and motivation it takes to succeed means that they cannot fail to impress, wherever they perform.

After the initial 30 minutes of breathtaking Chinese acrobatics, head upstairs to the Beijing Opera museum, which features thoughtful displays of masks, costumes, weapons and the traditional stage. A guide explains the significance of costume symbols, colours and headdresses of the opera protagonists; which is explained in a short video excerpt (check website for current programme). You can be sure that selections are made for their pace and entertainment factor, often incorporating circus-like skills the performers have mastered.

One of the college's aims is to foster the tradition of Chinese arts and to pass down cultural heritage to the next generation. By the enthralled children's faces around me, I'd say they were succeeding in leaps and bounds. I, too, was inspired to not only return on future occasions, but to further seek out and appreciate full-length Beijing operas in Taipei.