What’s On in Beijing: January 2020

By That's Beijing, December 31, 2019

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Jan 1-3: Swan Lake 

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Be enthralled by the wonder and fantasy of Swan Lake. The lauded Russian National Model Ballet Theatre, one of the biggest ballet theatres in Russia, enjoy a wideranging touring circuit around the world, landing in Beijing this month for the new year. Composed by Tchaikovsky and brought to life by the Russian National Model Ballet Theatre, Swan Lake tell a classic tale of love and magic, with amazing choreography, lavish costumes and detailed sets.

Wed Jan 1-Fri Jan 3, 7.30pm; RMB280- 440; Rulun Lecture Hall of Renmin University, see event listing.

Jan 4: The House of Ho 

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Zhao Dai’s queer club night East Palace West Palace returns for an even bigger glamfest dubbed The House of Ho, with special guest DJ Mr. Ho. He’ll be joined by Slowcook and OOPS2, alongside the fabulous performers Kennie Zhou, Frozen Lolita, RAE.negade and Yihao. Dance yourself clean surrounded by the photo works of Manbo Key. 

Sat Jan 4, 10pm-late; Zhao Dai, see event listing.

Jan 4: Calligraphy Workshop 

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Mastering calligraphy is an exercise that takes time and patience, but the rewards are worth it. The calligraphy workshop with Culture Keys is open for adults and children, providing English presentation on the history of Chinese calligraphy, a dumpling lunch, all materials, snacks and tea during the workshop. 

Sat Jan 4, 11am-3.30pm; RMB258;Cultural Keys Chinese Culture Centre, see event listing.

Jan 9: Neun Welten 

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Stepping away from the ultra-produced sound of the Top 50 charts is Neun Welten. Meaning ‘nine worlds’ in German (referencing the nine worlds of Norse mythology), this Leipzig-based band performs an alluring blend of dreamy acoustics and folk, evoking Viking and witchy imagery. From their debut, Valg, to their most recent release, The Sea I’m Diving In, Neun Welten have been at the forefront of the dark folk scene. Join them on their China tour. 

Thu Jan 9, 8.30pm; RMB100 (presale), RMB130 (door); MAO Livehouse, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

Jan 9-12: Rent 

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Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Broadway classic Rent is hitting Beijing stages this new year. A reimagining of Puccini’s opera La Bohème, Rent tells the story of a group of struggling artists trying to make a living and follow their dreams while living under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. This musical has inspired audiences all over the world with its message of joy and hope in the face of fear, reminding us to hold on to the thing that matters most – love. 

Thu Jan 9-Sun Jan 12, various times; RMB180-680; Rulun Lecture Hall of Renmin University, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

Through Jan 10:  ‘Fraternity… Fraternidad’ Exhibition 

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The group exhibition Fraternity… Fraternidad gathers together works by artists from China, Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay under the theme of an invitation to a journey in humankind, peace and fraternity between people. The exhibition shows that with courage and determination, fraternity is a challenge worth taking up. 

Through Fri Jan 10, 10am-7pm; free entry; ART-DES Gallery, see event listing.

Jan 11: Yinmeng Temple and Sujia River Hike 

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Let Beijing Hikers guide you on a thrilling 10-kilometer hike through the Yudu mountains and Sujia river valley. This trail will take you past Yinmeng Temple, built during the Liao Dynasty and restored in 2009, before passing through birch forests and picturesque cliffs. Though the climb may be tough, you will be rewarded with stunning views of sloping peaks and open plains. Due to the relative difficulty of the hike, this is recommended for experienced hikers and those with a higher fitness level. 

Sat Jan 11; RMB340 (members), RMB380 (non-members); see event listing. For tickets and more info, visit beijinghikers.com.

Jan 14: Yin Chengzong 

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Pianist Yin Chengzong held his first recital at nine years old. He has since won numerous awards, and was named the “most outstanding Chinese pianist” by the New York Times. In between his busy touring schedule, he has also been involved in piano education to promote future development of piano and young pianists. 

Tue Jan 14, 7.30pm; RMB80-400; NCPA – Concert Hall, see event listing

Jan 15-18: Three Phantoms 

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You’ve heard of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera; now, be introduced to a never-before-seen interpretation by a stellar cast of acclaimed singers and performers from London’s West End productions. Since its 2008 debut, Three Phantoms has delighted international audiences with its fun, stylish, and versatile performance. Catch this musical at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center this month. 

Wed Jan 15-Sat Jan 18, various times; RMB180-1280; Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, see event listing. Buy tickets here.

Jan 17 & 18: Romantic as It Is IV  

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This month, China NCPA Orchestra is bringing Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 2 to the audience with Lu Jia as Chief Conductor. The team recently flexed its wings on the international stage, receiving widespread acclaim for its performances at the Kissingen Summer Music Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, alongside many other global concerts. 

Fri Jan 17 & Sat Jan 18, 730pm; RMB100-580; NCPA – Concert Hall, see event listing

Jan 19: Makoto Ozone  

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Jazz pianist and composer Makoto Ozone began playing organ at two years old, and by the age of seven, was an improviser before switching to piano at 12. As part of the 20th Meeting in Beijing Arts Festival, he will be performing classic and original compositions, including ‘Asian Dream,’ ‘Bouncing in My New Shoes,’ ‘My Witch’s Blue’ and ‘Three Wishes.’ 

Sun Jan 19, 7.30pm; RMB80-480; NCPA – Concert Hall, see event listing.

Through Jan 19: Flamenco Courses 

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Spanish dancer Jesus Olmedo is hosting flamenco classes at Beijing’s Casa Flamenco. Renowned for leading the artists’ collective Flamenco Soul in London, he brings raw power and intensity to the dance. The four-week course welcomes total beginners and turns them into advanced flamenco dancers, with instructions spanning basic techniques to improvisation. 

Through Sun Jan 19, various times; RMB1,500-2,500; Casa Flamenco, see event listing.

Jan 26: Longqingxia Ice Festival and Tang Dynasty Caves Hike 

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This is more than just a hike – it’s a trip back to Chinese history! On this relaxed three- to four-hour walk, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Tang Dynasty cave dwellings, where an extensive, interconnected network of passages and stairways await you. Legend has it that this system of caves was built from the body of a dragon, amongst other mythological oddities. The hike includes a visit to Longqingxia Ice Festival, boasting brilliant ice sculptures and light shows. 

Sun Jan 26; RMB250 (children under 12), RMB450 (members), RMB500 (non-members); see event listing. For tickets and more info, visit beijinghikers.com.

Through January

Communal Wine N’ Dine 

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Black Sesame Kitchen’s nightly wine n’ dine provides a 10-course Chinese set menu with two imported wine pairings and other house drinks. The chefs handpick fresh ingredients from local markets and trusted sources, capable of accommodating most dietary restrictions or preferences. The limited seating means reservations are required, but you get a relaxed, personalized experience. 

Daily, 7-9.30pm; RMB350; Black Sesame Kitchen, see event listing.

Lost Plate Beijing Restaurant Tour 

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Try all of China’s best cuisines in one night without leaving Beijing, courtesy of Lost Plate food tours. Sample regional dishes from Xinjiang, Yunnan, Sichuan, and more on this off-the-beaten-path jaunt, hosted by an expert guide. You’ll be taken to truly local eateries, rather than touristy areas like Wangfujing or Houhai! Perfect for those who haven’t traveled to other provinces yet or those who just simply love Chinese cuisine. This activity is vegetarian- and family-friendly. 

Multiple dates, 6pm; see event listing. For tickets and more info, visit lostplate.com.

The Bake Shop’s Dinner Party @ The Orchid 

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Nestled within winding hutongs, the boutique hotel recently launched a winter special menu. Presented by The Bake Shop and The Orchid Lodge, the menu features warming dishes such as spiced pumpkin soup, sourdough pizza, and roasted cauliflower. For RMB188, enjoy dinner plus a free cocktail at their stylish Bao Jian Bar. 

Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, 6pm & 8.30pm; RMB158 (no drinks), RMB188 (includes 1 cocktail);The Orchid, see event listing.

New Weekend Brunch @ Migas Mercado 


The only thing better than waking up late on a weekend is brunch. Migas Mercado, in their prime CBD location, invite you to sample a range of dishes from their brunch and a la carte menu – tuck into soups and stews, eggs and bread, a host of sharing dishes and more. This brunch is made complete with free-flow drinks, so order all the sangria, cava, cocktails and soft drinks to your heart’s content. 

Saturdays & Sundays, 11.30am; RMB168 (includes free-flow drinks); Migas Mercado, see event listing.

Show Me Your Creativity Workshop 

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The team at Majiang Studio is issuing a challenge. Anyone can come and try to create three teacups from two types of clay and any glaze you like in one hour. If you are declared the best in show, you will receive a bottle of wine and refund on your entry fee. The result will be announced on the following Tuesday

Fridays, 10.30am-6.30pm; RMB96;Majiang Studio, see event listing.

Super Happy Hour @ Gung Ho! 

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Thursday is the new Friday. Everyone loves Gung Ho! for its gourmet and experimental pizza menu – now, their Sanlitun restaurant is offering a two-for-one happy hour on all alcoholic drinks. For those wanting to eschew the booze, there is also a two-for-one offer for mocktails. 

Thursdays, 5pm-8pm; Gung Ho! (Sanlitun), see event listing.

Antoine Mortier ‘Ink Made Real’ Exhibition 

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Ink artworks of Belgian artist Antoine Mortier (1908-1999) resonate with Chinese art, especially with the traditional and modern usage of ink in China. The large formats on display reveal the precision of his gestures, while staying between the figurative and the abstract, linking the intimate and the monumental. 

Through Sun Feb 23, 9am-5pm; RMB60; Tsinghua University Art Museum, see event listing.

[All images courtesy of promoters]


Have an event to list? Head here to list your upcoming event. We’ll choose the best new additions to feature on next months edition of ‘What's On in Beijing.’ Not sure where to start? Here's a full guide on how to list your upcoming events on our website.

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