Blend of Bikinis and Chinese Opera Stirs Debate

Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 05:27 PM

A stage performance by bikini-clad women wearing headpieces styled after traditional Peking Opera has sparked debate in China after photos were made public this week, highlighting divided views on how to preserve the country's traditions.

Organizers of the Miss Bikini International Committee - which was responsible for the show staged in April to promote an upcoming bikini competition - defend the use of Chinese opera elements as a bold artistic attempt.

"We are only adding small elements of the opera to fit the Eastern style, and we are just adding Chinese traditional cultural elements on the stage in order to attract audience," said Li Jinkun, general manager of Beijing Beauty Cultural Development Co. Ltd., which organizes the bikini contests. "Our goal was to let the audience have a fresh and new feeling," Li said Thursday.

Supporters say such experiments should be tolerated in commercial endeavors, but opponents say the sexiness of bikinis insults the traditional art form, which typically appeals to older people.

The debate over the use of opera elements in the bikini show began on China's active social media, but state media soon chimed in with equally split opinions.

"To rejuvenate traditional arts is a serious matter. Any innovation must respect the art in the first place but not distort it or change it beyond recognition," the state-owned China Youth Daily said Wednesday.

But a microblogging site of the online version of the official People's Daily backed the changes, saying that traditional opera also can be sexy, while a commentator on the Weibo site said traditional operas cannot live in a vacuum.

"Bikini-style Peking Opera is an innovation. Whether it will last or not, only time can tell," commentator Wu Hongmin wrote.


Editor's Note: The below news report from ITN offers a glimpse of the performance in question:

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Comments [4]

bikini from

So what do you think?Is it be right that bikini style opera?I don't like bikini style opera.It will not be kid friendly and it will be ugly.

Dec. 13 2012 01:40 AM

This may be a new form of art, people should take it in a positive way for actual development of the area.
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Oct. 02 2012 02:40 AM
mamafishy from long island

This could have been newsworthy if it were truly a Chinese opera with an innovative, contemporary production in the way so many Western operas have been placed in contemporary settings lately.

They were obviously blissfully unaware that they were creating a Chinese version of the Victoria's Secret "Sexy Geisha" debacle..

Sep. 28 2012 11:37 AM
Greg Winter from Port Washington

So? Where are the pictures? Is WQXR as squemish as Wen Jiabao?

Sep. 28 2012 06:42 AM

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