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Witness the Shaolin Warriors

October 01, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

On Sunday, the audience at The Maryland Theatre will witness the techniques of Shaolin kung fu.

The Shaolin Warriors - whose show encompasses daring feats such as leaping from one slender pole top to another and lying calmly on a bed of blades - performs in downtown Hagerstown as part of its fifth North American tour.

Yuchen Zhan, production company manager for the Beijing-based performance company, said that although the performers' roots are in China, their message is not lost on American audiences.

"Kung fu has no language barrier," Zhan said.

Zhan said most of the 22 performers have been training since they were 3 or 4 years old. The show will demonstrate traditions associated with kung fu, a primarily unarmed Chinese martial art resembling karate.

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Zhan said the show finds a more positive reception in the United States than back home.

"To be honest, kung fu shows are not very popular in China," Zhan said.

Zhan said kung fu's popularity in China has been on the wane since the 1980s. Today's Chinese audiences favor the Irish step-dancing show "Riverdance" and American boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys.

Zhan said Americans like the theatrics and the interactivity of kung fu.

The Shaolin Warriors will perform for two hours, at The Maryland Theatre. The show includes a 20-minute intermission.




If you go ...



WHAT: Shaolin Warriors

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: $27.50 and $37.50.

CONTACT: Purchase tickets at The Maryland Theatre box office, online at www.mdtheatre.org

, or by phone at 301-790-2000.

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