HOLLYWOOD?Extraordinarily unique, the Chinese New Year Spectacular is true to its title, transporting audiences through a dazzling cultural journey filled with music, song, and beautifully choreographed dance performances.
Two Spectacular evening shows were performed January 9 and 10 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. It was established by New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) in 2004 as a show entitled Chinese New Year Global Gala celebrating the Chinese New Year that is "rich in Chinese culture and expresses the essence of ancient Chinese traditions and values" explains Michael Ye, NTDTV Public Relations Representative, adding that "in the past 3 years audience feedback was that the shows were really wonderful and suggested that the name should be Chinese New Year Spectacular!"
The show grew from 5-city performances in 2004 with a total audience of 10,000, to 17-city performances in 2006 around the world with a total audience of 46,000, and "in 2007" states Ye, "we will perform in 28 cities worldwide for an expected live audience of more than 100,000." Performances can also be viewed in several cities in the United States, and internationally including Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia.
It is this dramatic growth that made the Chinese New Year Spectacular "NTDTV's signature event" states Jojo Yang, NTDTV's event representative, and notes that "last year's show was one of Billboard Magazine's top ten shows in February 2006."
The show is a variety of dance, vocal, and instrumental performances, with "each piece, whether music, drama, or dance, communicating a different meaning" and, explains Yang, "it is designed to appeal to one's purest emotions and to move the depth of one's heart," but with special emphasis on "purity, peace, virtue, nobleness, and beauty" states Ye.
Stories told through the dance and music performances states Yang "are myths and legends commonly known to the Chinese: Yuefei, the noble and virtuous Chinese general, Mulan, the brave young woman protecting her family and her country" to mention a few, and projecting themes "consistent with the ideas of the New Year—rebirth, hope, purity, and joy."
The performances are aided by digitally projected backdrops displaying, like ink-and-brush paintings, "places of interest, ancient Chinese palaces, beautiful scenes, well matched with the story" states Ye. Projections of animation are equally impressive, as well as the moving clouds and flower petals. Furthermore, songs translated in Chinese and English, projected on the screen, allow the non-Chinese audience to follow the music's theme.
Musicians and dancers include, among others, the Feitian Dance troupe from NY, Lotus Dance Troupe from Canada, award winning pianist Rueibin Chen, China's "Pavarotti" tenor Guimin Guan, and young erhu master Xiaochhun Qi.
Special to the 2007 performance are the new traditional costumes and, states Yang, "new Chinese dances, including the Tibetan Maiden Dance and the Bowl Dance in which the artists incorporate balancing (on their heads) a stack of bowls into the choreography." The Mongolian & Tibetan Affairs Commission in Taiwan supplied the costumes for this dance.
The performance features the traditional Chinese instruments including the erhu (a two stringed violin) and tang gu (drum). In addition, "the composers are on the forefront of musical composition" states Yang, blending Eastern and Western elements such as the erhu and piccolo, to create pieces unique to the show.
The intricate gorgeous hand-worked costumes are a feast to the eye, and are unique to individual segment. Cleverly made, they add to the ingenious choreography in that, notwithstanding the beautiful colors, when dancers are lined in a particular position their costumes display particular colors, and other colors when lined differently, elevating the performance's magnificence.
"The costumes are meant to be a representation of various traditional Chinese clothing over its 5,000 year history" states Yang, "they were handmade by dedicated artists in New York, specifically for this tour." They display the styles of "different dynasties, ethnicities, including the Zhuang and Tibetan" states Ye.
Dancers perform with grace and skilled precision. Many of the complex dance movements such as with the dancers holding and playing two drums, one in front and the other on their back, are very well synchronized, and a true pleasure to watch. All these performers, states Yang "undergo strength and flexibility training under the supervision of Zhang Tiejun, a member of Canada's esteemed Lotus Dance Troupe." This show leaves the audience "smiling and appreciative of the Chinese culture" states Ye, "it really touches people's hearts" and instills in the audience "a touch of ancient Chinese wisdom" as well.
Yang has seen the show several times and finds it "amazing, and very special" and, as the largest and most extravagant celebration of the Chinese New Year, the Chinese New Year Spectacular is definitely unique. Ringing in the Lunar New Year 4703 is an exciting and joyful time that we wish to share with the entire world."
One of the outstanding as well as surprising performances was turned in by the talented classical pianist Reuibin Chen. On Tuesday night he played a surprisingly powerful and energetic rendition of Waltz of the Flowers. It was a treat to hear this powerful piano solo—in contrast to the more sedate and traditional orchestral renditions of this beloved Tchaikovsky composition. Chen says he selected this classical Nutcracker holiday piece to coincide with the festive nature of the Chinese New Year show.
Guimin Guan, "China's Pavarotti", delivered two songs that demonstrated not only his powerful delivery but also a clarity of voice as only heard among the great operatic voices. Guan was the lyricist of both songs, "Finding Myself" and "Chakravartin." Both songs were of personal interest to Guimin as he was also the composer of "Finding Myself."
In between each performance, the show's presenters, Leeshai Lemish and Mei Zhou, livened the show with intermittent comic dialogue in both Chinese and English, welcoming the audience and wishing a very happy New Year to all. The show came to a close with the appearance of all of the performers on stage, saluting the audience under a cascade of digital fireworks.
The Epoch Times is proud to join with New Tang Dynasty TV and Sound of Hope Radio in co-sponsoring NTDTV's Chinese New Year Spectacular ( http://shows.ntdtv.com. )