If, as Jon McKenzie (2001: 49) asserts, the field of performance studies is deliberately positioned as liminal, occupying the space between ritual and theater, then the performance of pedagogical relationships in Tianjin quyi is an apt example of this liminality. The disciplined rituals that initiate the relationship between a shifu (master teacher) and her tudi (disciple)1 eventually give way to unbridled theater when the latter first challenges her master’s dominance. In my research on the following select group of female narrators, I discovered that transferring the skills associated with coveted female vocality is a highly charged, emotionally taxing process.