Traditional Movements in Model Opera
Jiang Shuiying’s first appearance on a boat which we see here contains all the typical traditional stylized hand movements from Beijing Opera, even though the boat and the punting stick are no longer just imaginary but real props. Similarly, Han Xiaoqiang 韩小强 and the Old Ma in On the Docks rub their tears away in striking traditional moves in On the Docks (scene 6).
Yang Zirong rides an imaginary horse in the manner typical of Chinese operatic pantomime (scene 5, seen in ill. 1.7 b) in Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy. The model operas and the model ballets, also feature the same type of sewing (also to be seen in The White-Haired Girl, scene 1), the same type of drinking, and the same type of walking as traditional operas. Only slight modifications are made to serve the ideal of “Revolutionary Romanticism”: horses might neigh audibly, or props may now be used that traditionally were reduced to a minimum.