SARASOTA, Florida—The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall was the venue for the final Divine Performing Arts show in Sarasota on Tuesday, Dec. 23. Sisters Lee-Eng and Christina attended the performance with seven other family members. Their mother had surprised them with tickets to the show, and they were thrilled by the performance.
Lee-Eng, a Florida attorney, said she really liked the fan dancing and the drummers. “I think that the colors were really great, and their performance was very intriguing.”
"I’ve been really impressed with the strength of their movements, seeing them in quick action—there’s stillness to it—and in fast action … it’s just really lovely.
"I think it’s great that they’re bringing such a unique sense of dance and such a unique sense of culture that a lot of people don’t get to experience, and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone to see [this] kind of traditional-style dancing. … There’s a lot of gentleness … and it just really brings out a lot of enjoyment, a lot of happiness.
"Nothing here is expected; a lot of it is very new, that we’ve never seen before. And definitely we have been to a lot of different performances, and a lot of Chinese performances because of our heritage [Italian and Chinese], and this is really something for us that we’re really enjoying.
"I think that this [show] is very polished. … It is really well-presented. I think that it allows people into the performance. … You kind of get both that Chinese experience, but also the English experience, so you don’t have people in the audience sitting here and not understanding anything that’s going on.
"I think what’s unique about this one too is that you’re seeing kind of this melding—where the backdrop comes to life. Sometimes it’s moving, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s interactive. It’s definitely one of the first things I look for when the curtain opens.”
Commenting on the performers, Lee-Eng said: “You’re looking at people with a skill level that is just really phenomenal, especially for what I perceive to be their ages, and I know that it comes from really learning something from a very early age.”
Lee-Eng’s sister Christina said, “I think this is the first [show] that I’ve seen that has tried to encompass so many aspects of Chinese dance—from the fan dance to the drummers. I’ve never seen them put together before.
“I think it’s like a journey, and it’s almost like a travel back into China, in a way that you’ll never really be able to experience. So it’s giving kind of a mini-vacation for two and a half hours. You’re really getting something that we normally don’t get to see in our normal lives,” she said.
For more information please visit DivinePerformingArts.org