(Clearwisdom.net) Professor Cyril Dabydeen is an English professor at the University of Ottawa, as well as a poet, writer, and former judging committee member for Canada's Governor's General Award for Literature. Professor Dabydeen accepted an interview on January 12, 2007 after the NTDTV Chinese New Year Spectacular performance at the National Arts Center in Ottawa.

Professor Dabydeen said that NTD TV's spectacular was one the best shows he has ever seen

One of Best Shows at the National Arts Center

Prof. Dabydeen said during the interview after the Spectacular: “It was tremendous; it was one of the best shows I’ve seen at the NAC. It’s wonderful, superb, beautiful choreography, beautiful soprano singing. I enjoyed it immensely.”

Prof. Dabydeen said: “It’s very hard to make up my mind. I liked the singing, it was very nice, and the various choreography, the dancing was superb, wonderful. It was the best experience of Chinese New Year.” When asked which one was his favorite, Prof. Dabydeen answered: “I made a lot of notes, in my notes here I say each one is unique, beautiful and unique, hard to say one is better than another. That’s to the credit of the organizers and producers, and the directors, because they all did a wonderful job.”

Prof. Dabydeen said, “I have a greater appreciation of Chinese culture than ever before, even though I studied Chinese history for many years. I think the culture is extraordinary, it’s beautiful and Eastern is Eastern and Western is Western, and here in Ottawa at the NAC you have this beautiful performance of Chinese New Year.” He said that the traditional Chinese culture is awe-inspiring-- “The deeper meaning is the sense of the great tradition. If we don’t experience it we are missing a great deal of the world’s culture. Especially the Chinese culture, the culture of China. It is so wonderful and we don’t want to miss that ever again.”

As a former judging committee member for Canada's Governor's General Award for Literature, Prof. Dabydeen said: “Usually we hear about song and dance multiculturalism, but it’s usually not very deep or very profound. But here tonight it was the most extraordinary cultural show I’ve ever seen and experienced.”

Understanding the Great Tradition and a Higher Realm from the Spectacular

Prof. Dabydeen used to study modern Chinese history. He said the Spectacular helped him to understand more about the Chinese tradition. He told the reporter: “The message (behind the opera dance), besides the extraordinary choreography, is the tremendous mythical experience of the peace, resonance, evocative Chinese culture. There was the understatement that new things are happening in China which we all in Canada are experiencing: Falun Gong and Tiananmen Square. There the political statement was understated but very much expressed, I experienced it in such a high art form.” He said: “I’m glad I’ve experienced it, because this transported me into a higher realm. The great artistic tradition of China which I never thought existed before. I had a sense of it because I studied Chinese history in university, but I studied modern China. This gave me a greater understanding and a wonderful appreciation of the great Chinese tradition.”

When talking about the Chinese culture, Prof. Dabydeen said: “It is a great tradition. From the dynasties in the previous time to the current period, that is where I saw the tradition and the great change that took place over so many centuries. In the West here we are still a new culture. The Western culture is very new. When you think of the Eastern cultures, China and India, particularly the China we saw tonight you get your mind and imagination going to different worlds. It broadens tremendously your understanding of the richness of human civilization, particularly Chinese civilization. It is so grand and so beautiful, so celestial, other worldliness.”

Prof. Dabydeen pointed out: “The essence of Chinese culture is the pursuit of truth, because some of the lyrics and verses of the soprano singers placed a great emphasis on morality, the sense of truth, pursuing truth and the beautiful harmony of the human spirit. I got that more than ever tonight. The tremendous harmony and search for truth and the harmony and choreography of the human experience, celestial experiences, the grandness and beauty of the human spirit. The Chinese spirit in the New Year, especially.”

All Canadians Should Come to Appreciate this Kind of Art

Prof. Dabydeen suggested: “All Canadians, not just Chinese people should experience this because then you have a better respect and understanding for Chinese Canadians that these people who were immigrants or who were born in Canada.” There are about 13 million Chinese living outside of China. Prof. Dabydeen said: “When you take an experience like this, you get a sense and understanding of these great traditions. These are people like yourselves; you are not just ordinary people, you have a tremendous rich heritage and tradition and that’s what I find beautiful, your great rich heritage and tradition.” Finally, Prof. Dabydeen told the reporter: “Of course I want to come next year. That makes Ottawa, enriches Ottawa tremendously. The nation’s capital is not an ordinary city anymore, but a top-class world-class city thanks to the Chinese New Year experience.”

Brief Introduction to Cyril Dabydeen

Professor Dabydeen started writing poems in the 1960's. In 1964, he won his first award in poetry. In 2000, he served on the judging committee for the Canada Governor's General Award for Literature, and he won the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry four times. He is currently an English professor at the University of Ottawa.