Divine Performing Arts Show Awakens Viewers’ ‘divine spirit,’ Says Writer

By Cindy Chan, Epoch Times
January 4, 2009 Updated: January 6, 2009
Award-winning poet and writer Cyril Dabydeen on Saturday night at Ottawa's National Arts Centre. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
Award-winning poet and writer Cyril Dabydeen on Saturday night at Ottawa's National Arts Centre. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

OTTAWA—Divine Performing Arts impressed and inspired award-winning poet and writer Cyril Dabydeen on Saturday night at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.

It is the third year Dabydeen has seen the show, which this season has an all-new line-up.

“It’s like a brand new show,” he said. “It’s such a good thing because you have such a packed audience and everybody is learning and enjoying traditional Chinese culture—the past and the present as well.”

He praised the “great talent” on stage, especially noting the Chinese classical dance and the choreography.

“The dance has all the energy, the tumbling movements of the ancient past … the joy of it, the quintessence of the various movements, male and female—the agility, the exercise of the men and the gracefulness of the women. It’s just beautiful.”

The combination of Chinese and Western instruments in the orchestra also delighted Mr. Dabydeen. “I think it’s a very good idea because the world is becoming more hybridized. We live in a globalized world … The whole world is changing so we can connect—it’s a brilliant idea.”

Mr. Dabydeen found the animated background scenery “brilliant” and “mind-blowing.” He particularly emphasized the meaning behind the beautiful presentations.

“I like the sense of spirituality, humanity, goodness, and kindness of the ancient Chinese tradition, thousands of years coming down through the centuries to our present time.”

An English professor at the University of Ottawa, Mr. Dabydeen is a prolific writer and poet who has written over 15 books and twice juried for the Canadian Governor General’s award for books of poetry.

Born in 1945 in British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America, he moved to Canada to pursue higher education in 1970.

In 2007 he was co-winner of the top Guyana Prize for Fiction for his novel Drums of My Flesh. The novel was also nominated for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award the same year. In 2006 it was a finalist for the Ottawa Book Awards.

Mr. Dabydeen noticed the spiritual and moral significance of the songs and dance sequences. “When you look at the lyrics of the singers … and I look at the words carefully because I’m a poet, I made a connection in my own spiritual and poetic mind. It is very ennobling.”

He added that “compassion and humanity are very uplifting overall,” qualities in the show that impressed him. The “great message” of what he saw encompassed “great warmth and human spirit.” The show “was extremely full of hope,” he said.

The closing piece “about knowing the true picture of hope and human values were so transcendental for me … inspirational.”

"We see the Divine Performing Arts really and truly in action, the morality and the values of the past, which human civilization around the world should never forget and overlook, no matter how much materialistic progress you make. 

“The divine spirit in all of us, [the show] awakens it,” said Mr. Dabydeen “I rank this show very, very highly … the very best.”

The Epoch Times is the proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts. Please see DivinePerformingArts.org for more information.