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Little Peking Opera actor's stage dream

04-29-2011 10:59 BJT

Ten-year-old Cheng Bin is a pupil of Chenqiao Primary School, a small rural school in Nantong. He and some 200 pupils of the school started to learn Peking Opera when they are in the first grade.

When attired in various costumes, moving with agility in thick-soled performance boots and colored greasepaint on his face, Cheng becomes a powerful "magnet" that attracts the audience.

Despite his increasing popularity among the audience in east China's Jiangsu Province where he was born, the chubby boy has his vexations, not least his 37.5-kg body weight which is unbecoming to his age and his 1.29-meter height.

Cheng Bin is seen during a Peking Opera training session in Nantong, east China's Jiangsu
Province, April 16, 2011. (Xinhua/Huang Zhe)

In the eyes of others, Cheng Bin is a lovable Humpty-Dumpty. However, obesity has posed an obstacle in his pursuit of becoming a professional Peking Opera actor. Each time when he attended Peking Opera course in which action trainings were given, Cheng would have to make greater efforts than his fellows. During a training session which usually involved rolling, jumping, kneeling and doing horizontal splits, Cheng would be soaked in sweat two or three times.

"The boy has a talent for stage performance, good understanding of the characters and fine vocal conditions. He will have better career prospect if he loses weight," says Li Pengshan, a famous actor who chose Cheng as his disciple when the kindergarten boy's performance impressed him in 2006.

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