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SHAOLIN WARRIORS BRING THE ANCIENT ART OF KUNG FU TO GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY'S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

September 15, 2009
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

WELCOMES

SHAOLIN WARRIORS

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009 at 4 p.m. 

FAIRFAX, Va., Sept. 15, 2009 Described by the Toronto Star as a “dazzling spectacle,” the Shaolin Warriors bring the remarkable skill, dramatic movement and spectacular imagery of the Chinese art of Kung Fu to the stage. Performed by disciples of the Shaolin schools, these amazing artists are renowned for their discipline and ferocious martial arts prowess. These incredible masters have trained from a very young age in mental and physical exercises, allowing them to perform astounding feats one only thought possible in movies. The Shaolin Warriors take the stage at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. “They combine the agility and grace of gymnasts with the showmanship of Cirque du Soleil performers.” (The Washington Post) This performance is family friendly, and tickets are half price for youth through grade 12. A pre-performance discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.

The Shaolin monastery was founded in A.D. 525 by a Buddhist monk from India named Ta Mo. Set at the base of Mount Shaoshi in central China, the monastery, which was the headquarters for a Buddhist sect, and became known throughout Asia for its disciplined spiritualism and demanding martial arts prowess. Recognizing the need to protect themselves in war-torn feudal China, the early Shaolin monks embarked on a long process to develop a system of defense by meditating on the attack and defense movements of animals that lived near their monastery. The monks called their system of fighting “wushu,” and after a few centuries of practice, their order was known throughout China for being a brand of Buddhists that one would be unwise to provoke.

The Shaolin monks spend several hours each day training in martial arts – perfecting the art of hand-to-hand and weapons combat. Each monk is required to achieve an extraordinarily high level of proficiency in each of the temple’s 18 traditional weapons, and to become a master of one of them. However, the daily practice of seated meditation is what enables the individual monk to sustain a challenging physical regiment. Through a practice known as “Ch’an” (Chinese for Zen), the monks calm the body and focus the mind to a single collected point in order to attain a mental state known as “Samadhi,” or complete mental absorption. It is in this quite yet highly focused state of mind that the monk is able to sustain extreme physical discomfort and pain, and enable himself to undergo the intense daily training required to achieve and maintain the level of adeptness for which they are known.

In spite of all their remarkable fighting abilities, the Shaolin monks never put their skills to aggressive use, with the exception with a group of wayward monks who left the monastery in A.D. 1620 to form a secret mercenary organization called White Lotus. Buddhism and Buddhist monks espouse a philosophy of non-violence and non-aggression, which is in accordance with the modern-day practices of Shaolin monks, and it would be incorrect to associate demonstrations of Shaolin fighting techniques with acts of aggression. The Shaolin monks mostly fight in silence, exhibiting what can only be described as “stillness of movement,” which is a direct result of the serene mind cultivated through meditation.

One guesses that Ta Mo had no idea that nearly 1,500 years later, the monks of Shaolin would still be held in great reverence while demonstrating their amazing skill and stunning movement to audiences throughout modern-day China and around the world.       

Tickets for SHAOLIN WARRIORS are $44, $36, $22. Family Friendly! Youth through grade 12, half price! Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.gmu.edu/cfa. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch in the 2009 rankings of U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.