On August 31, 2001 George W. Bush sent a congratulatory letter to Ms. Qi Shu Fang of Woodhaven saying, “Artists who draw on the traditions of their ancestors help to ensure the continued vitality of the arts in America”. Another letter was sent by Hillary Rodham Clinton congratulating her for being selected as a recipient of a 2001 National Fellowship of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Qi Shu Fang is the President of and performer in the Peking Opera Company of which the company’s mission is to “foster a deeper cultural understanding between East and West”. Performances have taken place in all parts of the country making history by staging a critically acclaimed complete performance of The Women Generals of the Yang Family at the New Victory Theatre on Broadway. Just last year, the Peking Opera Festival took place at Flushing Town Hall where Ms. Qi had the leading role.
“I have been performing Peking Opera all of my life,” said Ms. Qi . “Having studied martial arts I created a stir in Beijing when I acted the lead role in ‘Three Battles with Zhang Yue’e.’ In Japan I am known as one of that country’s most beloved Peking Opera star.”
It was in 1988 that she and her husband moved to New York City and established the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company. Her husband, Ding Meikui is the Vice President and Managing Director who was born to a family with four generations’ experience in Peking Opera. He has traveled throughout the United States promoting Chinese culture and the arts to the American public.
This year the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company will be hosting the Peking Arts Festival which will take place at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, September 20th. Of the large cast, 80 will be coming from China. “It will be composed of three shows,” Ms. Qi said. “The first will be martial arts. That will be followed by a love story about a princess falling for a younger man giving him a gift of a special sword.” The third show, “The Three Inch Lotus” points toward history with the subject of feet binding to make women’s feet small in order to marry into an upper class family.
Wanting to keep introducing Chinese culture to the United States and this show will be free to the public. The performance will be in Chinese with English subtitles. Tickets are purchased through the Skirball Center.
“Next year,” said Ms Qi, “I will be having the lead role in the Peking Opera Festival.”