Chinese Culture Passed Down by Gods Highlighted in Chinese New Year Global Gala (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On the evening of February 4, 2005, New Tang Dynasty TV held the New York performance of the 2005 Chinese New Year Global Gala, after earlier performances in Hong Kong, Taipei, London, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington DC. The nearly 5000 seats in the Theater at Madison Square Garden were sold out two days before the performance. The theme was "Myths and Legends."
The 5000-seat theater was a full house
The Gala began with the "Majestic Thunder" bugle call and resounding drums. The flag and drum troupe symbolizing "triumph in the first battle" inaugurated the Gala.
The auspicious dragon represented the nature governed by heavenly principles; the Tang dynasty drums expressed the jubilation in the human world; the flag arrays symbolized water that breeds life. Dragons in Chinese culture represent good luck, dignity, and might. They can eliminate calamity and bring blessings, peace and prosperity to society. Lions symbolize good luck and the supernatural beings symbolize good fortune and justice. Chinese New Year lion dances are often used to scare away evil spirits. The flag array, symbolizing the blue ocean, represents long-lasting vitality.
Dance drama: "Legend of the Lunar New Year"
The traditional Chinese lion dance introduced the dance drama, "Legend of the Lunar New Year". The dance drama narrated the traditional origin of Chinese Lunar New Year -- Elder monks used three magic weapons including firecracker, couplet, and lights to subdue the rampant monster called "Nian" (Year). The drama also told the story about how a village granny still kindly treated others when hurriedly fleeing for her life and she was eventually rewarded with good.
The several thousand years of Chinese culture was coupled with the cultivation culture of the Tao and Buddha schools, whose connotation and thinking deeply influenced the Chinese culture. Ying Tang Dance Troupe presented a large-scale dance that told an ancient and beautiful legend of divine beings. The mythical story, "Eight Immortals crossing the Sea" is almost known to every household in China. The eight immortals "Han Zhongli, Cao Guojiu, Zhang Guolao, Tieguai Li, Lu Dongbin, Hang Xiangzi, He Xiangu and Lan Caihe) represented man, woman, the old, the young, the rich, royalty, the poor and the humble people, namely, people from different social backgrounds and classes. It showed that people from different social occupations could all achieve success in cultivation as long as they are sincere. The dance drama "Eight immortals crossing the sea" tried hard to reproduce this fairy tale. It left the audience a deep and beautiful impression.
"Turning an Iron Rod to a Needle" originated from Zhenwu Emperor's cultivation story.
This mini theatrical act "Turning an Iron Rod to a Needle" introduced the origin of the literary quotation, "As an iron pestle can be ground down to a needle, persistent effort leads to success" and the unyielding courage conveyed by the riveting tale. It passed on from ancient history that Emperor Zhenwu was originally the crown prince of the Jingle Country during the Period of time when the Yellow Emperor ruled. In order to achieve the Tao, Zhenwu went to Wudang Mountain to cultivate himself painstakingly. One day, when he sat in meditation and entered into tranquil state, a group of evil spirits chaotically danced. They evolved into various idols to scare him, but Zhenwu was not moved at all. The demon of lust incarnated a beautiful temptress. At the critical moment, Zhenwu was deluded by the demon of lust. After that, Zhenwu felt deep regret and thought that his several-decade cultivation was in vain. When he went down the mountain, he encountered an elderly lady transformed by a Bodhisattva who enlightened him that if one grinds the iron pestle every day, the pestle could be ground down to a needle. Zhenwu suddenly understood the principle and made up his mind to diligently cultivate himself again. He finally succeeded and obtained his fruit status. In the end, Zhenwu levitated in broad daylight. The "needle rubbing well" which tells this legend about "turning an iron pestle into a needle" becomes an important landscape in Wudang Mountain, the holy land of cultivation in Taoism. This story expressed the solemnity and hardship of cultivation as well as the immense benevolence of the God who offers salvation and gives people the chance to rectify their mistakes.
Dance "The Unblemished Lotus"
Emerge unsullied from the filth and stand out from pure ripples without being flirtatious. It's straight without stretching. Its fragrance is fresh and spreads far. It stands upright and gracefully. This is the lotus flower in Chinese people's eyes and hearts. The dance "The Unblemished Lotus" presented by Tianjiao Performing Arts Troupe expressed the purity and spiritual elevation. As the lotus flowers blossomed, beautiful fairies dressed in colorful costumes came out from the big lotus flowers. With classical Chinese dancing steps, and pink, yellow and green fans, the dance displayed the fairies' peacefulness, serenity, kindness, sincerity and purity.
"A Dreamful Dance of Grace" by National Taiwan University of Art
Students from Department of Dance, National Taiwan University of Art were invited to perform "A dreamful Dance of grace" to one of the most famous pieces of music in the great Tang Dynasty. It was said that one year, immortal beings did Buddhist (or Taoist) service to allow Emperor Xuanzong in Tang Dynasty to tour the moon palace. Emperor Xuanzong heard the celestial music outside the palace, which was extremely pure and beautiful and then remembered the rhythm in his heart. After he went back, he composed the music and had it choreographed. The music passed down from generation to generation. Such kind of stories showing that traditional Chinese culture is passed down by Gods is in fact a common occurrence.
"Buddha's Light Shines on Us" presented by Lian Hua (Lotus) Arts Group represented Chinese people's tradition of worshipping the divine on Chinese New Year Day, seeking answers in life and expressing gratitude that they are being watched over.
Over thousands of years, Chinese people have the tradition of worshiping the divine and heaven on the Chinese New Year Day so as to seek answers in life, obtain the peace of spirit and express their gratitude to Buddha and divine beings' blessing. The large-scale singing and dancing "Buddha's light shines on us" expressed people's sincerity of worshiping the divine and their longing for auspiciousness and peacefulness.
Apart from the dances, exquisite dance solos, songs and magic acts also won warm applauses and cheers.
In the song, "Sending blessings to my homeland," Soprano Bai Xue expressed the message of fondness and hope with distance keeps us apart at this special time of the year.
She also performed a song entitled, "Warm Wishes for the New Year", which expressed the singer's deepest thoughts and wishes for her loved ones in her homeland. "Another Chinese New Year Eve is coming, Greetings to all Chinese people! New manner in the New Year, wish you joy and peace! Kind-hearted people, Happy New Year! Thousands of songs and music would be unable to extol that Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance are in the human world!"
"Amazing Grace" & "Carnival of Venice" By Empire Brass win warm applauses.
In addition to displaying the essential Chinese culture, the Gala also included high-quality performance of the western art and culture. The U.S. renowned Empire Brass's performance, performance by famous bass vocalist Christian Bischoff, Chorus "Simple Gift" and "Ode to the Lotus" by The Dessoff Choirs, one of the American music representatives, were all warmly received.
Chorus by the Dessoff Choirs
The Ying Tang Lion and Dragon Troupe and the Tianjiao Performing Arts Troupe concluded the Gala with a colorful performance entitled "Dragons Soar to the Drumbeats," a resounding welcome to the New Year.
Nearly 400 performers including some Falun Gong practitioners from North America, Europe, Taiwan and Australia participated in the Gala performance. The theme was highly praised by audience.
Mr. Geoff Smith, a renowned attorney from Bell Legal Group, Australia and his wife extremely love traditional eastern culture. The couple came from Australia to New York to watch the NTDTV Chinese New Year Gala. Mr. Smith expressed that the show was spectacular, providing he and his wife an opportunity for the first time to really understand traditional Chinese culture. They felt very happy. They hoped that they can come to watch the Gala again next year.