Hello My Friends,

I am back in the city of Xi’an (pronounced She-ann). It is situated in the middle of the ancient oriental empire that existed over a thousand years before the Chinese empire came into being. It was a major trading stop on the famous silk road. Built in the Ming dynasty, around the 17th century, the well kept old city wall still surrounds the old town. Xi’an is still a major trading city, but now it is a massive metropolis, complete with an office building high-rise skyline that twinkles in a coordinated light show every night at 10 PM - just like in Hong Kong.

This place is famous for the terra-cotta warriors built to accompany the emperor Quin on his long road to the afterlife. He surrounded his pyramid mountain burial site with a massive army of terra-cotta soldiers, each with a different face. He also had horses and carriages made out of terra-cotta. New armies and other elements are still being discovered on this ancient archeological site, but they have yet to find the huge kilns where they made the warriors.

Emperor Quin’s burial site was part of my culture day excursion in Xi’an last year, and it is worthy of a few more visits. But because we had to cram into 3 weeks, 4 playshops in cities all across China, there is no time for a culture day in Xi’an on this Playshop tour. Just walking around the old city wall that surrounds the old town was good enough for my culture day.

This years Xi’an Playshop was held at the Quanshe Qualing primary shool with over 1,000 first to six graders attending.

Each day that we entered the massive complex, we would pass by the athletic grounds were all 1,000 kids were doing their aerobics while chanting in unison, staccato phrases of Commitment to Proper Social Behavior: Respect for the teacher, Cleanliness, Study Hard, Proper Playground Behavior, etc.

During the school recesses, the windows of our Playshop activity room were smashed up against the glass full of curious little primary faces.

The 55 participants of the Xi’an Playshop represented the usual demographics that I find all over China: Drummers & Drum Teachers (mostly Tam Tam Manding West African drumming), Music Therapists, Music Teachers, and School Teachers. Rarely will I find Special Needs, Kids at Risk or Well Elderly related professionals.

This being the second Playshop in Xi’an, we had only a handful of Level 2 participants and only one Level 3 person. Our Level 3 mini-mentor trainee goes by the western name of Chocolate. His real name is an unpronounceable Wong Guoferg. He attended the Beijing Playshop and will also attend the upcoming Wuxi Playshop, for a total of 9 days of playshop training time in two weeks. Chocolate is getting his butt kicked in a good way. I can see the improvement of his bigger Playshop service radars with each passing day.

In these translated Playshop trainings, I am famous for wearing out translators like a race care driver wears out tires.

Our Chinese translator’s name, Zhang Junwen, is unpronounceable by a westerner, so we call her Jean. Jean did translations in the mornings of the Beijing Playshop, but did all the translation for this 3 day Xi’an training. She can now translate whole paragraphs at a time so the training flow is getting smoother. She will take a break during the Wuxi Playshop and just participate as a student, then she will translate the last Playshop in this China series in Guangzhou in southern China.

The closing family-friendly drum circle was well attended. Many of the attendees are now regulars in the drum circle that are now being held here in the very heart and center of China..  The rhythm revolution lives on.

On to Wuxi

Life is a dance   Arthur