January 18, 2009

(Clearwisdom.net) MONTREAL--Divine Performing Arts opened a new world of Chinese culture to Senator Yoine Goldstein and his wife, active members of the ballet community.

"It was extremely interesting, I found that the portrayal of different parts of Chinese culture were very interesting. More important, I think that the performers were having a lot of fun performing," said Mr. Goldstein.

Mr. Goldstein is one of the most highly respected lawyers in Canada and was appointed to the senate in 2005. He has served as a special advisor to a senate committee dealing with banking, trade and commerce that handled amendments to bankruptcy legislation. He is also an internationally recognized expert on insolvency law. He taught law at the University of Montreal for 25 years and is a leader in the Jewish community. Over his life, he has been honored with many awards for his professional and volunteer achievements and sits on the boards of many foundations.

"It was clear that they were very enthusiastic, and very committed and very engaged and involved in what they were doing, so I find it very interesting. Very fascinating."

Mr. Goldstein said he was particularly taken by the cultural aspect of the performance.

"It was really very very pretty, very nice, and I'm very glad that I came and that I was invited to come. I wasn't aware that this was taking place, so I'm very happy that I was asked to come, very happy I did come. It's pleasant indeed."

He said there were many things about the show that he found impressive.

"On a purely physical level, the costumes I found were extraordinary, and the stage effects also were very, very, very exceptional. I found that the mix of different forms of art, dancing, singing, and instruments was also extremely interesting. And I'm going to have to go back and learn a little more about the Falun Gong."

One of the show's dances "Heaven Awaits Us Despite Persecution," tells the tale of a father who is persecuted for practicing Falun Gong. The scenes that ultimately unfold in this piece present a message of hope and bespeak of a longstanding Chinese belief that good people are ultimately rewarded, even if not in this lifetime.

Many of the show's dances focus on China's rich store of myths and legends. Included in this years dances are numbers about the Monkey King and Mulan.

"The Monkey King Triumphs," is a dance based on a scene in "Journey to the West," one of China's most beloved classic novels written close to 500 years ago. The protagonist, a Buddhist monk, is traveling to India in search of scriptures, joined by an ogre, a pig, and the miraculous Monkey King. Along the way they are set upon by a demon that assumes the guise of a temptress. The storyline reflects the melding of the magical, moral, and mundane so common in the traditional Chinese novel.

"I found that the legends and the persons in the legends were very interesting. A people expresses itself in historic legends -- all people express themselves in historic legends. The heroes and the villains in the legends reflect the norms and the moires of the society in which the performance takes place. And I find that very, very interesting. The good and the evil, and the dynamic, the dialectic, between good and evil, I found was really quite interesting. It was very impressive."

Mr. Goldstein said the show gives people who see it a better feel for Chinese cultural expression.

"And the Chinese are people whose culture is very very ancient, and I think we all have a lot to learn from each other's cultures, but mostly we have a lot to learn from ancient cultures. And Chinese culture is one of those. It's very nice."

Mrs. Goldstein was equally taken by the show and expressed admiration for the skill of the dancers.

"I think they're wonderful. Extremely well-trained, very talented, and I thought the discipline was superb. Really superb," she said.

Mrs. Goldstein is involved in ballet in Montreal and sits on the board of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, one of the most highly acclaimed ballet companies in Canada.

She described the entire performance as "extremely well-done."

"I loved it. I thought the dancers were just superb. One of the things that's always difficult in our tradition of dancing is the cord of ballet, it's all the dancers, getting them all to do exactly the same thing at the same time. These dancers are perfect, they're just perfect. It's just really a treat. I thought the costumes were extraordinary, just exquisite. And the effect -- it was just visually very exciting, and I don't know very much about it, I'd like to learn more."

She also said she loved the live symphony orchestra.

The Divine Performing Arts Orchestra begins with a classical Western orchestra as its foundation and augments this with traditional Chinese instruments, enabling its compositions to at once mine the potential of Western orchestral music and yet be rich in Chinese qualities.

"I loved it. I thought the whole thing was really exceptional."

As an expert in dance herself, Mrs. Goldstein also commented on the choreography in the show.

"I thought it was excellent. It's really difficult for me to comment on it, because I don't know enough about the background. But I thought the stories were exceptionally well done."

She added that she knew there was a great deal of meaning in different elements of the performance but that she wasn't sure of its significance. That did not, however, affect her enjoyment of the show.

"It was just beautiful and wonderfully done and I'm very happy to be here."

"It's a wonderful performance," added Mr. Goldstein.

The Goldsteins finished by wishing all Chinese people "a very very happy New Year."