Wowed by wushu

Skill and artistry with wushu and dance
in a scene from Farewell My Concubine
Wowed by wushu martial dance

For the first time Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk featured the beauty and power of wushu in a skillful and artistic performance by the professional troupe from Lee Wushu Arts Theatre & Workshop.  For this energetic performance, the entire intersection at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee and Jalan Pahang in front of the Red House was transformed into a stage.  The audience was thrilled and enthralled for almost two hours by a showcase of their brand of exciting martial arts mixed with modern dance. 

In 1998 Lee Swee Seng founded Lee Wushu Arts Theatre to develop wushu as an art form and he created his style of martial dance.  Lee, a gifted wushu athlete with 24 years experience in this sport, is also the artistic director and wushu director of Lee Wushu Workshop.  Between 2002 and 2009, Lee honed his skills under wushu masters in China and his efforts paid off when he clinched the gold medal for wushu dance in the 8th Hong Kong Wushu International Championship. 

Ter Wei Lum gave a powerful performance in his role as
Xiang Yu, King of Chu, in Farewell My Concubine: The
Movement of the Martyr

“Farewell, My Concubine – The Movement of the Martyr,” a stunning blend of wushu, dance, theatre and visual arts, is one of the masterpieces that Lee choreographed in his wushu and dance series.  Soon after its premier in December 2009, the troupe was invited to perform it at the 7th Johor Baru Arts Festival in 2010. 

It was also presented at the International Dance Symposium for the 2010 Hong Kong Dance Festival and won the Bronze Award and Best Creative Award in the 22nd Malaysia National Chinese Dance Festival.  Last August, it was performed in collaboration with the Actors Studio, in Kuala Lumpur.

Cheong Kee Qing [Left] and Ter Wei Lum
are lead role artistes
Recently Ter Wei Lum and Cheong Kee Qing, both 22, reprised their respective roles as Xiang Yu, the King of Chu, and Yu Ji, his beloved concubine, remarkably well in the street’s open-air stage. 

These professional performers remained perfectly poised in their street-stage, surrounded by an avid audience watching, mesmerized just steps away from them.  This 10-minute excerpt of the well-loved Chinese classic was effectively portrayed by the two artistes as spectators shared their art and passion through their powerful yet fluid movements and animated facial expressions.

The evening’s showcase also featured excerpts from The Static and Dynamic Five Elements performance and martial arts demos by young wushu class members, aged between 9 to 12 years old.  This, first public performance by the youngsters, was choreographed by Kok Wai Chun.  

Young wushu enthusiasts in a demo performance
Through an interview with Chow Pei Foon, the troupe’s Public Relations Executive, Lee shared his experience with the audience and later in a fun inter-active session, he invited the audience’s participation, first with kids and then adults, to learn a few basic wushu steps together.

“I can see that Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk has progressed tremendously since it was launched two years ago,” said YB Mok Chek Hou, state assemblyman for Stulang, as he welcomed visitors to the show.  He observed that more visitors were spending time here in the weekends and attributed the success of this heritage walk to the strong support from the Johor state government and members of Johor Baru Tiong Hua Association. 

C P Tan, Mok Chek Hou and Lee Swee Seng [wearing light
colour shirt] with class of young wushu enthusiasts
“This is one of the many live entertainment shows lined up at the heritage walk in the coming weeks,” said Tan Chai Puan, Director of the Teochew Eight Districts Association.  Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk was one of the three destinations including sites in Penang and Malacca that Astro TV highlighted in a live telecast on 22 January, the eve of the Lunar New Year of the Dragon.  Tan encouraged everyone to make the heritage walk a regular destination for a nostalgic experience of street entertainment every Saturday evening.

Event enquiries should be directed to the JB Tiong Hua Association, Tel: 07 – 2788999.  Visit website: for more info on Lee Wushu Arts Theatre & Workshop.

Artistes perform a mix of wushu and modern dance

The Red House is an excellent backdrop for Chinese cultural
events at Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk

Lee Swee Seng guiding young volunteers in a few basic wushu moves
at Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 7 February 2012

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