NEW YORK—The full house at Radio City Music Hall gave a standing ovation to the Chinese New Year Splendor on Saturday, Feb. 9.
It was a fitting conclusion to a 15-show run over 11 days that presented, through dance and music, traditional Chinese culture to a diverse and appreciative audience.
Jerry Ames, a choreographer and tap dancing master, gave his assessment of the performance aspects of the show. "The talent is very, very lovely, and the music and the setting is just gorgeous," he said.
"With the color schemes and the way the costumes blend with the setting is very impressive. It's very elegant, very successful," Mr. Ames continued. "We're very impressed, it's just beautiful ... We're very happy to be here."
The show, as the hosts mentioned, presents traditional Chinese culture as it cannot be seen elsewhere— especially inside China, where the Chinese communist regime has actively suppressed or destroyed the artifacts and the conduct of traditional culture during its rule.
"Culture is meant to promote peace and harmony with our neighbors. This harmony includes truth, compassion, and tolerance," said Daniel Lee, a real estate investor with Speed Investment Group in New York City.
Lee was referring to the principles of Falun Gong, the traditional Chinese meditation practice that was portrayed in a couple of the dance pieces. The Chinese communist regime has persecuted Falun Gong practitioners since 1999.
An article critical of the show and of Falun Gong appeared in the well-known New York Times on February 6. The article was mentioned by many audience members who were interviewed.
In a common reaction, Mr. O'Meara said, "We read the article in the [New York] Times yesterday saying the Chinese government didn't want people to come to this show. We're rebels."
Some gave more pointed responses to the article, such as banker Ron Sablosky.
"It certainly did not dissuade us from coming, and I don't think it should dissuade anyone, because it really is highly unfair. And it might even be construed as unethical."
Attendance at the shows after the article ran was not diminished by the critical review. If anything, attendance was boosted according to NTDTV, the show's producers.
Penny Cohn, an account executive and building manager, had read the New York Times article and noted, "In fact, it piqued my curiosity."
"And not only that, it had a lot of space, too. I was quite intrigued with the amount of space it was given, I have to confess that."
The two pieces that depict the persecution of Falun Gong, "The Risen Lotus Flower" and "The Power of Awareness" were mentioned by many audience members as their favorites.
Amerigo Fabbri, Dean of Pierson College and professor of modernist literature at Yale University, talked about "The Risen Lotus Flower."
"You have the three women in prison and how one of them gives her life for the other two, these are great, great elements of the culture that are certainly conveyed by the show," he said.
On his overall impression, Fabbri said, "The show is spectacular, I mean amazing. They're doing a great job bringing together the history of Chinese culture. The sound effects, the visual effects, the special effects, the singing, and the dancing is just amazing."
Audiences outside North America will soon be treated to this unique window on traditional Chinese culture through dance and music, including the telling of stories both ancient and modern. Two companies, Divine Performing Arts of New York and Divine Performing Arts on Tour, combined to present the big Radio City production. The companies will take different routes, as one goes to Asia and Oceania, while the other goes to Europe.
The Divine Performing Arts international touring companies land next in Germany and Japan.
For information on all upcoming shows, please visit: www.DivinePerformingArts.org
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Chinese New Year Splendor.