Traditional Chinese culture could be a new offering on the roster at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, judging by the welcome it received at the recently-renovated Merriam Theater. The theater was the venue for opening night of the Chinese New Year Spectacular's world tour, which brings authentic Chinese culture to people everywhere.
The inaugural performance began with a gala reception for dignitaries that set a celebratory tone for the evening. Pennsylvania's First Lady and current chair of Avenue of the Arts, the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, expressed her delight in being able to attend. She was accompanied by Harry Kao, Commissioner, President's Advisory Commission for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders, who presented a proclamation honoring the show.
Rich Adams, a systems manager, and his wife Bobbie, an artist, of Philadephia were in the audience. Rich said, "We enjoyed it very much. The music, the costumes, the drums, the colors." Bobbie said, "I am an artist, so I very much liked the costumes. This is the first time I've seen this type of show. I guess I like the colors, and the flowing silks. The music was very good. I liked the two-stringed instrument [the erhu]."
Tom Singer, architect, and his wife, Kim, also from Phil, said, "Very nice. My daughter's been to China several times. I liked the fan dance. Very graceful. It flows. Very visual. I liked the Tibetan dancers. I'm going to China in the spring this year. I liked the drummers and the fan dance. It was pretty. Flowing. That's why we came, just to get a little culture before we go."
Dean Hampson, a courier, and his wife Kay, a teacher, from Philadelphia, said, "We think it was excellent. The costumes are beautiful. I like the long-sleeve dance and the drums. Everything was very spectacular. The most beautiful costuming I've ever seen! I have a friend who lives south of Beijing who visited. We went to see a Chinese New Year program in Delaware, but it was not as beautiful and magnificent as this."
Tom Stanley, an intern for "Where" magazine, a tourist publication, Conshohocken, said, "Visually stunning. As an American, I don't get to see a program like this. I especially liked the Tang drums.
Sharon Taylor, Director of Communications for St. George County Police Department, was more than awed. "This was the highlight of my weekend. Each time there is a show, you think you see the most beautiful and talented show and this one tops everything I've seen. I am so glad to have been invited."
Molly McCoy, psychotherapist from Philadelphia, gave her husband tickets to the show as a gift. Her husband, Dave Fortin, teaches at St. Joseph Prep in Philadelphia. He teaches world culture. "It was lovely and will really add to the section on Chinese culture." Because he teaches high school freshmen, he could understand the dance drama about the two young men doing a kind deed in the Buddhist temple. Molly said, "This is a show for all ages."
Divine Performing Arts is becoming recognized as the leading proponent of traditional Chinese dance and music. This year, with appearances on four continents to an estimated audience of over 650,000, the performers have set the highest standard of classical Chinese performing arts and present the most breathtaking celebration of Chinese New Year in the world. Inspired by over 5,000 years of history and tradition, the Spectacular has awed audiences across the globe since 2004. Creating one of the most visually stunning experiences on stage, the Spectacular features brilliant traditional dances, stellar singing and a live orchestra.
The Spectacular continues in Philadelphia through January 6, 2008. For tickets, see ticketmaster.com or bestchineseshows.com. The Epoch Times is proud to once again sponsor this year's performance.