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GENDERING MALE DAN: JINGJU MALE CROSS-GENDER PERFORMERS AND PERFORMANCE IN THE POST-CULTURAL REVOLUTION ERA

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Title:GENDERING MALE DAN: JINGJU MALE CROSS-GENDER PERFORMERS AND PERFORMANCE IN THE POST-CULTURAL REVOLUTION ERA
Authors:Ma, Yan
Contributors:Wichmann-Walczak, Elizabeth (advisor)
Theatre (department)
Keywords:Theater
career development
gender
jingju
male dan
show 2 moreperformance
training
show less
Date Issued:2020
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:The term male dan in this dissertation refers to the male actors who specialize in dan roles or female roles in jingju (Beijing/Peking “opera”). Female actors who act female roles are called female dan in this study. Male dan were instrumental in the development of jingju, beginning with the origin of this art form in the late eighteenth century. The socialist government that established the People’s Republic of China in 1949 had a negative attitude toward cross-gender performances, viewing them as the products of a feudal society; female dan artists who inherited the male dan legacy therefore became predominant in dan role performance after 1949. Public xiqu (Chinese “opera”/traditional Chinese theatre) training schools established in the 1950s did not accept male dan students. During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), male dan who trained before 1949 almost disappeared from the stage. In the post-Cultural Revolution era (1976 to the present), the official attitude toward male dan has not been explicitly conveyed or implicitly suggested by the Party: this ambiguous attitude neither actively supports nor restricts the development of male dan. Starting in the late 1970s, male dan who had been trained before 1949 gradually returned to the stage. However, xiqu training schools remained closed to male dan. In addition to the lingering political sensitivity of male dan development, the social prejudice toward gender and sexual minorities was also a critical obstacle hindering the development of male dan, who were therefore stigmatized both morally and politically. After the 2000s, an increasingly open political and social environment allowed for the emergence of new male dan who explored various training and performance opportunities. Through the combined efforts of male dan and male dan advocates, a few of the new male dan were accepted by jingju training schools and state-run jingju troupes. Successfully established new male dan pursued the male dan identity by negotiating with various institutional and social obstacles and enhanced their male dan identity by cautiously adhering to the male dan tradition created by male dan masters both onstage and offstage. One of the crucial factors in the success of these new male dan is the belief shared among male dan and male dan advocates that male dan performance has its unique values and characteristics which cannot be replicated by female dan. Unlike female dan, who may have to make a fair amount of adjustment to adapt the stylized vocal and physical performance skills and techniques created by male dan to their own circumstances, in the process of imitative learning, male dan may imitate much more directly. In dan role performance, male dan are believed to have more potential for approaching the ideal, refined and stylized beauty established by the male dan tradition. Though the 2010s ushered in an era of a firmer recognition of the unique value of male dan art, and a comparatively more relaxed political and social environment for male dan, xiqu schools were still, in general, not open to accepting male dan students.
Pages/Duration:369 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/73388
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Theatre


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