Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or

VOICE OF THE DRAGON - 4/12 & 4/13

March 17, 2003
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.

"…at once immediate and ancient…" – Newsday

* Re-envisioning a 17th century Chinese fable via Martial Arts movement
* Music by Fred Ho’s Afro Asian Music Ensemble

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA, MARCH 17, 2003—What is martial-arts ballet, the brainchild of Brooklyn-based composer, producer, writer, musician and bandleader Fred Ho? "The difference between this show and other theater," explains Jose Figueroa, the martial arts choreographer for Voice of the Dragon: Once Upon a Time in Chinese America…, "—it can be a little dangerous."

This tale of a renegade Chinese monk and her discovery of the Shaolin Secret Scrolls, promises kung fu, tai chi and bouts of hand to hand boxing during performances at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Saturday, April 12 at 7PM and Sunday, April 13 at 2PM. An artistic discussion, FREE TO TICKETHOLDERS is held 45-minutes prior to each performance on the Grand Tier of the Concert Hall.

"Martial arts can kick the butt of modern dance any day," says Fred Ho, "It’s every bit a sophisticated, high-art form as ballet, with the freedom of modern dance. At the same time it has to have a combat dimension to it." Ho’s category-busting stage work is another vehicle for this cultural agitator, known for his almost brash honesty and his quest to counter what he calls pop culture "idiocy" as well as the depoliticization of cultural forms. His job, he says, is to provide and alternate, oppositional form that radicalizes and inspires audiences.

Set in 1600 AD China, during the early Ching Dynasty, Voice of the Dragon: Once Upon a Time in Chinese America…is the tale of Gar Man, a young girl raised by the Shaolin monks, and trained in the mystical martial arts forms as well as the ancient teachings. As she grows, Gar Man becomes disillusioned with the elders who raised her, her rebellion taking the form of a tragic deception involving the theft of the temple’s Secret Scrolls. The five disciples who taught her must now face the heartbreaking task of defeating her. The timely message is echoed at the show’s finale: "this is a story of loyalty and betrayal. It has been repeated throughout every century. As long as there is ambition without the honor and repeat of tradition, this story will continue to be told."

The action in Voice of the Dragon is propelled by the incredible fusion of sound created by Fred Ho’s Afro Asian Music Ensemble. The New York Times proclaimed that, "Fred Ho’s Once Upon a Time in Chinese America unspooled to one of the best dance scores to be heard in these parts in recent times…"

Fred Ho’s singular style has garnered awards ranging from a 1988 Duke Ellington Distinguished Artist Lifetime Achievement Award (a first for an Asian American), to a 1996 American Book Award (as co-editor of Sounding Off! Music as Subversion/Resistance/Revolution).

Tickets for Voice of the Dragon – Once Upon a Time in Chinese America…are $25. FAMILY FRIENDLY: all children (12 and under) half price. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit 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.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.