Free Chinese language summer camp used Beijing Opera to teach
Binghamton University’s Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera hosted the “Sounds of China: STARTALK Learn Chinese through Beijing Opera Performance” summer day camp from July 28 through Aug. 15, for students entering grades 6-12. This unique summer camp engaged students in Chinese culture-themed arts and crafts in the mornings, and Beijing opera in the afternoons, enabling participants to use their recently acquired language skills – all free of charge!
While at the camp, participants learned Chinese and were taught the Chinese language through a focus on learning Beijing opera.
The camp was ideal for students with the equivalent of a year or less of Chinese language background. Students learned to read and write basic Chinese characters, converse in basic Chinese, and learned about Beijing opera and its style of stage combat, costumers, character types, singing, distinctive face-painting, history and movements.
Participants presented some of their Chinese language and Beijing opera skills at a ceremony the last day of the camp to show what they had learned during the three weeks of “Sounds of China!”
The program was sponsored by STARTALK, a language learning program established by the U.S. government in 2006, to expand national capacity in critical languages.