The New York-based Divine Performing Arts Company has been staging its Chinese New Year Spectacular at Montreal's Place des Arts this week, presenting a renaissance of China's 5,000-year history.
In the Spectacular, ancient Chinese stories unfold on stage through classical Chinese dance and music with an authenticity that is said to be completely unique in the world today.
This is spurring something of a renaissance of traditional culture in the Chinese art community and is drawing the attention and admiration of audiences around the world.
In the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Rat begins on February 7, and is said to bring changes and new beginnings.
In the Chinese zodiac, the Rat is the first of the twelve signs. The eleven signs following it are: the Ox, the Tiger, the Cat, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Sheep, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog and the Boar.
Stéphanie Valois, who's sign is the Snake, attended Wednesday's Spectacular and said she particularly enjoyed the great number of colours of the show as well as the costumes. A student in cabinet-making, who is also learning violin in her spare time, Valois said she liked the Spectacular's wide range of music which she described as « merry and colourful. »
Luc Vincent, who's sign is the Dragon, said, "We feel a spiritual atmosphere in the show, a great dignity — fundamental values that human beings must preserve."
He especially enjoyed the giant screen which served as a backdrop as well as the piece with numerous buddhas manifesting themselves through movements. Like many other audience members, Vincent was inspired by the colours and the costumes.
People born in the Year of the Rat are described as entrepreneurial, bold, passionate, hard-working, imaginative, charming, generous with the ones they love, but they're also said to be strong competitors.
This year celebrates the earthly Rat. The five elements of Chinese astrology are fire, wood, earth, water and metal.
The Chinese calendar is lunisolar. The changing of sign for the new year is therefore done at the time when the new moon (seen from Beijing) appears between January 21st and February 20th. Performed since 2004 by the New York-based Divine Performing Arts Company, the Spectacular will stage 220 shows in over 60 cities, reaching a total live audience of about 650,000. The world-class tour will span five continents — Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America.
After Montreal, the Spectacular will play in Toronto from Jan. 18-20. The show will return to Canada in the spring, when it will play in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts shows that will perform in over 60 cities worldwide in 2008. To find a show near you, please visit www.bestchineseshows.com.