New York City: Portraying Divinely Imparted Culture, Chinese New Year Spectacular Ends Four-day Run with Great Success (Photos)
(Clearwisdom.net) On February 17, 2007, the 2007 Chinese New Year's Eve, the New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) New Year Spectacular reached its peak as the seventh and final show opened to another full house. Before the Spectacular's first show at Radio City Music Hall on February 14, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed the day as "NTDTV Chinese New Year Spectacular Show Day." During the four days of performances, approximately 28,000 people braved frigid cold and snow to see the Spectacular.
In the most luxurious indoor theater in the world capital of culture and arts, the Chinese New Year Spectacular presented a variety of grand dances, vocal and instrumental solos and a live orchestra, the Tianyin Orchestra. In addition, the Spectacular featured unique world-class backdrop designs using a high-end full-sized LCD screen. With a perfect marriage between traditional arts and modern technology, the Spectacular presented a collection of world-class performances with purity, compassion and beauty, creating a sensation on Broadway and eliciting overwhelming enthusiastic comments from the audience.
The Spectacular not only caught the attention of mainstream society and media, but also was recognized as a grand New Year event for overseas Chinese. The four-day run attracted people of all ages, from infants of several months old to seniors in their nineties. For many elderly overseas Chinese who have lived in the U.S. for decades, it was their first time watching a Chinese show with authentic Chinese culture. The Spectacular portrayed the essence of traditional Chinese culture, revealed many touching truths, and illuminated the beginning of a new page for human civilization.
The performances began with the grand dance, "Creation." In the opening scene, heavenly beings gather. Looking down at our world, a Buddha expresses that he will go to earth and bring goodness to humankind, inviting the others to join him. He then appears in the Tang Dynasty as an emperor. Many consider the Tang Dynasty Chinese history's golden age, and believe its culture was divinely inspired.
Choreographer and lead dancer Vina Lee said, "The traditional Chinese culture was imparted by heavenly beings, and the Tang Dynasty culture is the most representative Chinese culture, with the highest achievement. The show reproduces many precious historical facts which can inspire the audience to ponder: Where do human beings come from and where does human culture come from? They may find the answers from the Spectacular."
The dances "A Dunhuang Dream," "The Monk Who Endured" and "Mulan" highlighted the essential values of Chinese Culture, including respecting heaven, homage to Gods and Buddhas, fidelity, compassion and endurance.
"A Dunhuang Dream" portrays how a sculptor received inspiration from Gods in a dream because of his pure heart and piety and how he then crafted thousands of life-like Buddha statues in the Dunhuang Caves.
Ms. Wang of New York once visited the Yungang Caves in Datong, Shanxi Province. She said she was amazed by the magnificent traditional culture, and at the same time wondered how ancient people could have such wisdom to craft so many life-like Buddha statues. "After seeing this program, I now understand how the statues were crafted and have a new understanding on why China is known as 'The Divine Land.'"
"The Monk Who Endured" tells the story of an abbot who adopted the baby of an unwed girl, but was wrongfully accused. However, the abbot didn't argue on his own behalf. He raised the child and bore the humiliation while doing good deeds. Eventually, the real father of the child came back to marry the girl and took back their child after he became the country's top scholar. The abbot achieved Consummation because of his virtue.
While the legendary Chinese heroine Mulan became well known in the West through Walt Disney's feature animation in 1998, her popularity in China reaches back centuries. Her celebrity status owes much to the "Ballad of Mulan," which dates from China's Northern Wei Dynasty (386ï¿½" 34 C.E.). Mulan is said to have disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the army in place of her elderly father. Only after she returned from triumphant battle was her true identity discovered. She was honored for her bravery.
Harmony Between Heaven, Earth and Humans
The dance programs presented the authentic Chinese culture, which emphasizes harmony between Heaven, Earth and human beings, prosperous nature, the strength of men, and the elegance and femininity of women:
"Forsythia in Spring" portrayed the blooming forsythia with carefree movements and bright costumes that express feelings of hope and renewal. The melody and use of handkerchiefs in the dance are distinctive of China's northeastern region. "Dai Ethnic Dance" depicts scenes of Dai girls playing at riverside, forming a beautiful and harmonic scene with the landscape. "Ladies of the Manchu Court" presented an imperial dance. The dancers are accompanied by royal Manchu-style music as they move gently in raised shoes. Manchu women were known for their elegance, refinement, and virtuous demeanor. "Herding on the Mongolian Plains" portrays brave and heroic young men riding horses on the vast grasslands of Mongolia. The dance is a majestic presentation of the strength of men.
"Rainbows" features colorful ribbons in motion, accompanied by the tune of the northeastern Chinese folksong, "A Night with a Crescent Moon." The green ribbons waved by the male dancers simulate layer after layer of trees on a mountain, while like butterflies the pink ribbons waved by the female dancers fly among the green mountains. It is a great match of strength and elegance with high spirit.
Authentic Chinese Culture without the Influence of the Communist Culture
One person who attended the show was a Ph.D. student in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, named Matt. Speaking in fluent Chinese, he said: "Chinese culture proper has nothing to do with that of the communists. The NTDTV programs tonight were really something -- just incredible. I would dare say we're witnessing nothing short of a renewal of Chinese culture... A show like this is really something precious."
Matt felt that the show conveyed a message to its viewers, "that life is to be cherished, and that questions of meaning, such as why are here and what are we to become, are important to reflect on."
He said: "I really feel rejuvenated by the experience, and afterwards it's as if everything around me were new. The persons around you look different -- nobler, more special. I can't help but have this smile."
Learning the Truth from the Show
With their elegant voices, renowned Sopranos Jiang Min and Bai Xue, Alto Yang Jianshen and acclaimed Tenor Guan Guimin called on the precious Chinese people to find the truth for their future well-being. The voices awaken the memory of many people and inspired them to ponder: Where do humans come from and where will they go? Many audience members were moved to tears.
Soprano Xue Bai sang "Auspicious Words" in which she repeatedly reminded her audience to remember, "Dafa Hao" (Dafa is Good).
Alto Yang Jianshen said, "Falun Gong practitioners are fulfilling their prehistoric vows by tirelessly clarifying the truth of Falun Gong to people. However, they do not mean to force anyone to share their beliefs. Instead, they hope that people can judge what is right and wrong based on the facts, so that they can be spared when the destruction of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) comes. Falun Gong practitioners will continue to clarify the truth with compassion regardless of peoples' attitudes. When people really learn the truth, they will understand and appreciate the practitioners' compassion."
Lester Cohen, the CEO of a medical equipment company, was touched by the lyrics of these songs. He said that the lyrics were wonderful, with great compassion and truth, and were very inspiring.
"I didn't see any influence of the CCP in the Spectacular, however, I discovered a lot problems that the CCP has," Cohen said.
Ms. Wang from New York City said that she could understand the intonation of the songs and agreed that traditional Chinese values are consistent with the "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" principles. She said, "The theme of traditional Chinese culture is established based on the ideology of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The Buddha school emphasizes Compassion, the Tao school emphasizes on Truthfulness, and the Confucianism emphasizes Forbearance, and all are within the boundary of the "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" principles. Therefore, I feel that the "Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance" principles are the essence of our Chinese culture."
Magola Spiegel said that he learned that one should be sincere, disciplined and humble, and live a quality life following traditional values.
Documentary producer Andrea said, "I believe that the arts cannot exist independent of politics and history. One should not only appreciate the beauty of traditional Chinese culture but also appreciate peoples' admirable efforts in preserving such a beautiful culture. It is very important to incorporate them together."
Leeshai Lemish, host of the Spectacular, speaks fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. He said, "The Chinese New Year is also a time for Chinese to memorialize their family members who have passed away. Dancers of the "Candlelight Vigil" memorialized the Chinese Falun Gong practitioners who have been persecuted to death by the CCP, while a singer sang, "Spheres of candlelight, one after another, spreading forth, like a ray of hope that spreads far and wide the beauty of honesty, kindness, patience...So light up a candle and let compassion and truth spread forth. Light up a candle and illuminate the world."
Drama critic Ms. Guo Jingzi said, "It seems that the stars in the sky and the candlelight were calling people to awaken from the maze. Though candlelights are gentle and soft, a presentation of so many is very powerful and moving."
The Chinese New Year Spectacular Created a Sensation on Broadway
1963 Best Actress Oscar winner, Patricia Neal, said that she enjoyed the show and had a wonderful night. She said that she loved every performance, every song and every dance. "I will come back next year," she said.
Renowned Broadway actor Joel Vig said, "The show is very good." He said that he liked the Bowl Dance and Rainbows dance.
Paul Catafago, executive director of a nonprofit cultural organization, "The Source is One," said, "The show has a lot of performances, and it is hard to believe that so many performances of different types can be put together so efficiently. The Spectacular can be compared to any Broadway show." He said that he loved the music and he could tell that the composers must have a deep understanding of the performances, as the music matched the programs so perfectly. "They can be called musical choreographers. I would like to meet these musicians," he said.
Dr. Harold Channer is a producer and anchor for a Manhattan cable TV station and is very interested in Chinese culture. After he watched the first half of the Spectacular, he exclaimed, "Beautiful, costumes, dances... In addition, the lyrics directly tell the evil nature of the CCP and its doomed fate. I like NTDTV. They produced such a great show for the viewers."
Dan Miller, an anchor for WVOX TV, said, "The show is great. I recommend it to everyone. For next year, I recommend that everyone buy tickets. It is not enough to just watch it once, one should watch it twice. If the NTDTV show once again coincides with Valentine's Day, bring your loved ones. This is a great gift for Valentine's Day."
The Spectacular has now drawn to a successful conclusion in New York City. It gave the audience not only an amazing cultural experience but also much inspiration. In the show, which brought together heavenly-occurring and mundane events, and the past, present and future onto one stage, we are all not just viewers, but also actors and actresses.