At year-end 2007, Divine Performing Arts began its annual global tour. There will be a total of 200 performances in the world's largest cities. At the same time, and mirroring prior years' activities, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) went on the offensive. They harassed public officials and managers of U.S. theaters. Public officials who received letters of "serious advice" from the Chinese consulates include Assemblyman Michael Benjamin of New York; Jim Naugle, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and the chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors Chris Norby. The letters demanded that they not attend the Divine Performing Art shows. They asked that no congratulatory letters or letters of recognition be sent. Furthermore, they insisted that no support of any kind be given to NTDTV's Chinese New Year Spectacular. The majority of individuals who received such letters were rather annoyed. They replied with a formal response to the Chinese consulates and publicized the letters. Several theater managers, including the managers of the Owens Auditorium in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, Maryland, received harassing phone calls from Chinese consulate staff.

1. Divine Performing Arts' Performances Consistently Receive Enthusiastic Reviews from the Audience

New York musician Shannon Taylor very much enjoyed Divine Performing Art's performance. He was filled with emotion when talking about the show. He shared that the show captivated his heart from the moment the curtain lifted, revealing a most beautiful scene. Ted Kavanau, founding senior producer of CNN and founding president of Headline News, said that the Divine Performing Art's performance is "highly professional in every single way" and, "It's really a remarkable achievement."

Robert White, a celebrated tenor who has performed for five U.S. presidents, gave high praise to the entire performance, from the backdrops to the costumes. Eric Shumsky, one of the world's prominent violinists said that although he had attended many many concerts throughout the world, he had never seen anything like this show. In his eyes, the show was unique, pure and beautiful.

Well-known pianist and the creator of chamber music events, Charles Wadsworth, couldn't contain his admiration and said after the show: "The Best! The Best! The Best!" Elaine Rachlin, vice president of HSBC said that the show was wonderful, and the presentation and arrangements were perfect. She conceded that she had never seen such dynamic backdrops that would rival anything she had seen previously.

"Harmonious, ecstatic, emotional. Loved every piece. Enjoyed every moment," said Judy Vredenburgh, a member of the Board of Overseers for the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

Famous ballerina Anna Liceica said the performers were graceful, beautiful, pure, and noble. She judged the show as among the world's best. The manager of the Nokia Theatre in Dallas, Larry Fontana said the the show was beautiful, unique and enlightening.

Billy Morgan, a manager of AEG LIVE said that it is not easy for a foreign culture to enter mainstream western art, but he felt that this show will become an ongoing sensation without doubt. Hu Ping, political commentator and chief editor of "Beijing Spring" said, "The fact that they hosted more than 10 shows on Broadway and also in so many major cities in the world is commendable in itself. It's a creation of Chinese people, and a bridge between East and West."

Such praise is not the exception, but the norm. The success of Divine Performing Arts' performances, and the voices from the audience members who were deeply touched, are in stark contrast to and fully expose the CCP's helplessness and ineffectualness in their attempt to undermine and block these world-class performances.

2. Divine Performing Arts' Performance Presents Genuine Traditional Chinese Culture

Reginald Hardwick, a producer at NBC Channel 5 Dallas, said that he saw in the show important social values, including the sense of caring, kindness, selflessness, and courage. The dancing portrayed very moving stories. He felt that it was a great opportunity to learn about Chinese culture and said that he became increasingly more interested in Chinese culture after seeing the show.

Empire Brass's trombonist Alexei Doohovskoy said he could feel the very deep meaning behind each of the scenes during the show. He said it is a unique and wonderful show that represents artistic and moral values.

Yvonne Johnson, Mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina said the show helped her understand not only about Chinese culture but also Chinese history. Senior journalist Ahmed Maharem said the unique performance showcases authentic traditional Chinese culture and he thinks the show is going to be one of the most popular shows on Broadway.

"I bought 12 tickets and gave them to three generations of my family as Christmas gifts," said Jean Stanish, a Realtor from Florida. She also indicated that Chinese art is very different from Western art. It truly lifts the spirit. Ayllu Times publisher Eric Montoya said that the show reflected the real China and traditional Chinese culture from before the communist rule in China. He felt that the show spreads the message of peace and it made his heart become peaceful and calm as water.

Gino Soldi, manager at Dr. Pepper/7Up, said that this was the first time he saw such a show. "It's an entrance to another culture," he said. Ms. He Qinglian, a well known economist, said, "The director discovered much of what had been lost in Chinese culture - music, costume, and dance movements. They combined them with modern stage techniques and presented it in a new form. It was refreshing."

"I thought only Korean culture was still a traditional culture. In Korea I had seen some performances from China (Mainland) and felt that it lacked true traditions. In watching Divine Performing Arts' performance I saw traditional Chinese culture and realize how broad and profound it is. The moral values from the show are what human beings should follow," said Woonki, a Korean Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Arlington. Li Hongyun, the director of Pennsylvania's Meihua Dance Troupe, said that it is very important that the host introduced and explained the body rhythms and movements in Chinese dance and indicated clearly to the audience that Chinese dance is a complete dance system.

Divine Performing Arts' performances bring to the public true Chinese culture. Audiences from the East and West understood the message and felt greater respect for the culture. According to Ms. Chen Ying, the executive stage director, the design development for the performance took more than a year to finalize. They reviewed ancient paintings, books, and other materials to discover the history and tradition spanning several centuries. Dance is a powerful way to express the 5,000 years of Chinese culture, especial since it symbolizes legends and folk tales. Ms. Chen said those dances are a true representation of each given period. Historical facts were represented by the Chinese New Year Spectacular visually, Ms. Chen indicated.

The CCP's letters of harassment to U.S. officials clearly stated that the Divine Performing Art's performance would affect the "relationship between the U.S. and China." And, they were correct - because the show affected the audience deeply. Feedback by the audience indicates that the performance presented real traditional Chinese culture and stimulated Westerners' interest and brought respect to Chinese culture. When audience members praise how broad and profound the 5,000 years of Chinese culture is, they will soon forget about the communist culture that ruled for several dozens of years. Perhaps it is more appropriate to say that the performance destroyed the "Chinese communist culture."

To speak of "discrediting" China is one of the cheap tricks of the CCP. When a Western audience sees China's true culture through the New Year Spectacular, isn't this better than getting to know China through cheap toys? How can bringing honor to Chinese culture "discredit" China?

January 12, 2008

(To be continued)