(Clearwisdom.net) Divine Performing Arts presented three shows at Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, and the audience members had high praise for the Chinese New Year Spectacular.

Julie, a stay-at-home mom, said, "I did not know what to expect from the show." Because Julie's daughter is learning about China at school, they came to celebrate the Chinese New Year together. Julie was surprised at the deeper meanings and issues that were presented, which prompted questions from her daughter. Julie said, "When my daughter asked, 'What is happening in this dance?' I could respond, 'Well, in China they do not allow religious freedom, so here is a dance that bravely brings up the issue of what is happening in China.' It's good to have this in the show so that my daughter and I can talk about religious freedom and political freedom."

"I really enjoyed the show. I have been enriched by my experience here, both historically and culturally," explained retired social worker Sandra Hamilton. Sandra had never seen a Chinese production before. She said that she was most impressed "by some of the similarities of things that happen here in America and what was portrayed as happening in China. Specifically, the way some people get bullied by others and yet they are able to overcome these hardships with different types of mentalities and ideologies, rather than by fighting."

Moira, a seasoned traveler, has been to China twice in the past year. "Because I have recently been to China, the styles of dance here were comparable to what I saw in China, but this seemed more classical and nicer. I liked it a lot better." The message she got from the show was "to be compassionate." She commented, "I was also interested in the persecution issues that were threaded throughout the show. It will make Americans think a bit about what is going on in China, the other side that we don't necessarily see. The creators of the show have very skillfully made that story part of the program."

As a producer of musicals, Michael Embrey knew what he was talking about when he said, "I called a few friends to let them know they missed a good show." Michael was "partial to the dance numbers and the costumes." He said, "One does not think of a Chinese tenor singing, normally. He was excellent." He explained his thoughts about the stories, "Anytime there is a presentation of human rights in an artistic form, it is better than someone screaming, 'This is right' or 'This is wrong.' I think in an art form, either through music or dance, it gives a different meaning." Would he come again? "Definitely, for the sheer value of the entertainment."

Marla Schachtel brought a group of seniors from the Senior Center to the show and "they all just loved it." She is a big fan of dance and said, "All of the dancers showed so much talent. The costumes and dances were beyond my highest expectations." Marla appreciated "all the work that goes into preserving the culture." She added, "Today was truly spectacular."