The capital of Australia was honoured by one of the greatest shows in the universe tonight when the New Tang Dynasty Television's (NTDTV) 2007 Chinese New Year Spectacular gave its first of two performances there. The city-based Canberra Theatre came alive with ornate costumes, music and vivid performances portraying ancient Chinese legends. With the essence of Chinese dances, famous and cherished characters of the ancient world were brought to life in this distinguished show.
Chinese history abounds with legends of great heroes and divine saviours. Their stories remain as universally valid to society and as poignant today as they did throughout the reaches of time.
The show fittingly opened with the splendour of "Creation". Capturing the divinely inspired golden age of the Tang Dynasty, "Creation" depicted the divine entering the world. It begins with a Buddha gazing upon the world and making a solemn commitment to go to Earth and bring goodness to humankind. He reappears as an emperor, where the grandeur of "Great Tang" was portrayed amid sounds and colours that captivated the audience instantly.
"Tang is a very rich and famous dynasty," said one excited Chinese Canberra theatre-goer. "I think maybe the level of the dancers is a little higher than you would see in China."
One of China's most famous generals of all time is depicted in the dance "The Loyalty of Yue Fei". As a young man of the twelfth century, Yue Fei was tattooed with the characters "serve the country loyally" on his back.
In "A Dunhuang Dream" we find ourselves transported deep into the ancient Dunhuang Caves of western China. We witness a pious sculptor attempting to complete a sacred statue. Surrounded by dozens of statues he runs out of inspiration for new ideas. Tired, he falls asleep and dreams. It is revealed in the dreams that he has created more than mere statues and he receives the divine inspiration he needs to continue.
"The sculptor was a real person who produced many Buddhas. When he was alive he was not famous; when he died, he become famous," said one Chinese–Australian from the audience.
"As someone who lives in Canberra, I think this is just wonderful", a New Zealand expatriate told The Epoch Times. "It's good seeing more and more of it come to Canberra; I really appreciate it – it's beautiful. I'm glad it's focusing on more Imperial China...it has such a rich historical culture, and this is what's coming through really strongly in the performance tonight, and that's just exquisite."
While it's impossible to single out one outstanding performance from the rest, "Mulan" was noteworthy for its vibrancy and emotive power. Elly Shu, choreographer and lead dancer, brings to life the legendary Chinese heroine, which was made popular in the West by Walt Disney's 1998 feature animation of the same name. During China's Northern Wei Dynasty (386–534CE) Mulan disguises herself to take the place of her elderly father in the army. Honoured for her bravery, it is only after a triumphant battle that her true identity is discovered.
The NTDTV Chinese Spectacular has extended its global shows to more screenings in New Zealand, Korea and Taiwan with the Divine Performing Arts group who are the artistic force behind New Tang Dynasty Television's Holiday Wonders and Chinese New Year Spectacular shows each year. Its mission is to rediscover the essence of true, traditional culture and to bring arts to the world that celebrate human dignity and positive values. It produces and performs works that center on classical themes and divinely-inspired cultural traditions. The group's performances aim to provide an experience of consummate beauty and goodness. For further information about the show in your city, please visit shows.ntdtv.com.