AUCKLAND, New Zealand—The opening night of the Divine Performing Arts' Chinese Spectacular in Auckland on April 17 was met with a standing ovation and hundreds of thrilled responses. Among the audience was the New Zealand soap opera star Kiel McNaughton.
Mr McNaughton, who plays the main character of Scotty (Scott) in the popular drama 'Shortland Street', said the Spectacular was "excellent" and regretted not taking his son to see it. The show, he says is very "educational".
"I would actually like to take a group of young children along to see it. I have a four-year-old and I think he would be into it because of the kind of stories. It is quite educational and I think younger children might be quite into it."
Mr McNaughton was very interested in the many traditional stories that were presented in the show.
"I guess what was interesting to me was the different types of dancers and different types of stories. The Mongolian ['Mongolian Bowl Dance'], the Tang Dynasty ['Drummers of the Tang Court'], just so many things I haven't seen before," he said, noting the diverse cultural dimension of the Chinese Spectacular.
The Spectacular has arrived in Auckland as part of the 100-member Divine Performing Arts global tour. The company is based in New York and sets to revive the traditional 5000-year-old Chinese culture. The dances are based on the unique techniques only seen in classical Chinese dance.
"... the nature of the Chinese dance is so flowing and peaceful that is the feeling that I get. Just the flowing and the movements, it is just so lovely," notes Mr McNaughton.
Mr McNaughton is himself part Chinese. He mentions that he has done martial arts in the past and hence he loved "to see all the acrobatics, the gymnastics, there was a little bit of that in the first half".
He was particularly impressed with the "whole energy" of the drumming in the show. There are two numbers combined, rhythmic precision of the drumming and dance movements—'Drummers of the Tang Court' and 'Victory drums'.
Mr McNaughton also commented on the quality of the opera singers."The things that I enjoyed were the operatic singer; that was really nice, actually, I really enjoyed it.
"The deepest impressions for me were the enthusiasm that was coming through the performances. The telling of the stories obviously means so much with in the culture."
The Chinese Spectacular will play at the ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, until Saturday April 19.
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