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Chinese Pingtan artist Zhou Hong in Suzhou, E China

People's Daily Online)  10:22, November 28, 2012

(Xinhua/Zhang Chuanqi)

After lunchtime spent at a teahouse, Pingtan artist Zhou Hong drove to a residential area. She pulled up in front of a performance hall named Baiduren, which means "ferryman" in Chinese.

In a small dressing room, she did her makeup and talked with her partner Xu Huixin about their upcoming performance. There were still two days to go before the end of the 16-day serial performance of "Qiuhaitang", a long story that requires 32 hours' oral narration. Some 150 spectators, most of whom were retirees, enjoyed a two-hour performance on that rainy afternoon.

Related: Chinese choreographer Tong Ruirui: pursuing Goddess of Luo River

The ticket was sold at 5 yuan (0.8 U.S. dollar) per person, including a cup of green tea. "I can earn 10,000 yuan (1589 U.S. dollars) for a half-hour performance in some private salons, but I don't want to lose the elderly audience. They need us," said Mrs. Zhou. "And we need them too, as they are the pillar of the Pingtan art."

Leaving the Baiduren, she headed for Shanghai Business and Tourism School, a technical secondary school, where she gave Pingtan lessons to several students interested in this art. Mrs. Zhou gives four lessons to the students each week, including weekend.

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