SAN FRANCISCO—Divine Performing Arts is currently on its San Francisco engagement of the Chinese New Year Spectacular. The company has been at the forefront of a revival of traditional Chinese culture.
Audience members have found themselves not only dazzled by the visual and musical artistry, but also have been drawn to the ancient stories and universal values portrayed.
Eugene Sterling, from San Jose, Calif., a retired college music instructor who attended the Jan. 23 performance with his wife Susan at the Orpheum Theatre, said, "I thought it was absolutely beautiful ... And it was a beautiful presentation of Chinese culture of the past and all of the wonderful things that go along with it."
"I enjoyed the singers very, very much. I've been a musician all my life, and I think the singers did very, very well."
He found himself deeply connected to the ancient stories being portrayed.
The first piece, "Descent of the Celestial Kings," struck him in particular: "It really related to mythology, and mythology all over the world. Every culture has its own mythology, and this gave us a sense of the Chinese mythology of the gods, creating Kings to come down to earth. I think it's quite beautifully done."
"All stories in different cultures have things in common that deal with trials and tribulation, joy and sadness, and everything that goes along with it. And we are all human beings; we all share those qualities, and the feelings, and those stories. So we can all relate to them.
"I think in this age, we have so much diversity in the world, but we are all one. We all need to learn about everybody else and what their cultures are like. I really appreciated this tonight."
His wife Susan also echoed this sentiment: "This is depicting a beautiful culture that I don't know a lot about. And there is a lot beauty that as an American I don't see with European people. The body movements and the use of hands is very gentle and delicate and graceful. And the women—they are floating across the stage. I love that."
"I had a background in fashion. I really enjoyed the costumes and the dancing."
Like her husband, she came back to describe a deeper, more universal connection with the performance and the qualities portrayed. She said, "Truth is good. Regardless of what it is, truth is beautiful."
The mission of Divine Performing Arts is to "rediscover the essence of true, traditional culture and to bring arts to the world that celebrate human dignity and positive values. The group's performances aim to provide an experience of consummate beauty and goodness."
Divine Performing Arts is touring to 65 cities worldwide. The Chinese New Year Spectacular will run at San Francisco's Orpheum Theatre through Saturday, Jan. 27.
The company will move on to Radio City Music Hall in New York City to perform Chinese New Year Splendor Jan. 30–Feb. 9. For more information, visit http://www.DivinePerformingArts.org.