In Chinese theater, musical dialogues are known as "singing" and "recitation (dialogue)," and dance movements are known as "acrobatics" and "combat." Chinese theater is a comprehensive performing art, with singing, reciting (dialogues), dancing, acrobatics and martial arts as the basic performing techniques for telling a complete story. Moreover, the synthesized art forms in Chinese theater are not independent; instead, the dividing lines between them are blurred, and they intertwine with and penetrate each other.
No matter how beautiful the dances in an opera are and how brilliant its acrobatics are, all of them are techniques and means used by actors and actresses to portray characters. This is quite different from Western opera, in which the dividing lines between various art forms are distinct, each giving full play to its brilliance. Therefore, it is not easy to be a Chinese opera performer, who is required to be good at singing, acrobatics, recitation and martial arts as well.
That is why Chinese operas have everlasting charm. It is no wonder that audiences went wild when Mei Lanfang told about a woman's experiences with a modulated tone, clear, soft and smooth recitations, sentimental facial expressions, sweet and mellow songs, and elegant dances.