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'The peacock tail feather should be turned around a little bit," says Plum Blossom Jinju Opera Troupe founder and leader Hu Chang'e, correcting the decorative element on the girl's head, while teenage boys wave their swords, preparing to take the stage.
The Jinju Opera will take place on a shabby outdoor stage built that day, in the center of Laoyingping, a village hidden in the mountains of Xiaoyi, Luliang city, Shanxi province.
Two shelves along a narrow alley are filled with accessories, costumes and shoes, while more than 100 local villagers gather around the stage, standing in front of coal stoves to keep warm.
"Hu is a household name here. She's treated like an international star. We're very excited," says Zhang Quanliang, the head of the village.
Sun Shihu, a 63-year-old villager. says: "I am a big fan of Jinju Opera, and I watch more than 200 performances a year, especially Hu's performances. The troupe is close to us, and we respect the fact they are willing to spend hours on the road to come here."
The 51-year-old Hu, a winner of the Plum Blossom Prize, the highest theatrical award in China, says she is content.
She was formerly the director of Shanxi's Taiyuan Jinju Opera Theater but quit to start the Plum Blossom Jinju Opera Troupe in 2004.
The troupe has more than 100 members and has performed in more than 1,500 remote villages for more than 10 million people.
"Audiences love our performances, and they inspire me," Hu says. "The villages are often poor, but they are our foundation."
Born in Qingxu county - known as the home of Jinju Opera - Hu says that even though her parents were fans of the opera and sent her to a local opera school at 10 years old, it was not a case of "love at first sight" for her.