Divine Performing Arts (DPA) performed its second Chinese New Year Spectacular at The John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC on February 11th, 2009. Those in attendance enjoyed an unforgettable evening of high-energy dance, music, costumes, and choreography.
Freelance Writer: "The principal dancers were just amazing, dance after dance after dance!"
Chelsea Hedquist, a professional freelance writer, attended the show with her grandmother.
"It was such a wonderful blend of dancing and music. It was sort of like getting a history lesson and a lesson in Chinese culture all rolled up into a few hours. So I really enjoyed it. It was beautiful and the talent was so impressive ... amazing! I really enjoyed it," she said.
When the reporter asked what she found most impressive about the different talents in the show, she replied, "The two-string instrument, the erhu. It was so beautiful. I was just blown away by the tone and the quality of it."
She continued, "The principal dancers were just amazing. Dance after dance after dance! One thing that I was really impressed by was the breadth of their abilities. At one point, the dancers looked like these graceful delicate little ladies and then they were doing these incredible acrobatic and gymnastic moves. So, I was impressed overall. It was a really fun outing, with the MCs, and it was just a wonderful evening and show."
The reporter asked Ms. Hedquist what she thought about the show's combination of traditional Chinese culture and modern Chinese culture.
She excitedly replied, "I really enjoyed that! The things that I enjoyed most were the more traditional dances like "Mongolian Chopsticks," and I loved the Tibetan dance, too. That was really wonderful, too. But I liked the modern dances, too. It was a good combination."
Ms. Hedquist discussed the spiritual side of show, saying, "Well, I wasn't as familiar with all the spiritual elements that were brought into the show, but my grandmother was very familiar with that and she just loved it!
... But the show was so interesting, it was really enlightening. I thought that all the spiritual elements added a depth to the show. Instead of it simply being entertainment, there was a real message there and I really enjoyed that."
Musician: "It is a really good show on every level"
Thomas, a pianist, said he, "enjoyed the show very much."
"It is a really good show on every level. Artistic, ethical, cultural, and interpersonal. It touches the audience in so many ways. I think everybody would find something to enjoy in the show," he said.
When asked what impressed him the most about the show, he replied, "Of course the level of dancing, and the precision and beauty of the movements, but being a musician myself, I liked the opera pianist. I thought that was fantastic."
Thomas commented on the spiritual side of show, "That is what impressed me the most! In the heart, people are all pretty much the same. The values that were expressed in the show, they are values that we in America would like to think are our values, too."
He continued, "I think they are basic universal human values, and so if we could all realise that, there would be peace in the world. And I think the show pointed that out very nicely. Even the idea of the combination of Western and Chinese musical values was combined in a very interesting way, too. Tonight what I heard was the colouration of Chinese and Western musical values."
Ballet Dancer: "The performances contained a message of hope"
Stephanie has been dancing for fourteen years now, with her main focus being classical ballet. She moved from Alaska to attend the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. where she started practicing modern dance, African dance, and Jazz dance.
"I am now with the City Dance Ensemble (a pre-professional dance program), so it was so inspiring to see the DPA dancers. It was really inspiring."
When the reporter asked her to give her professional opinion of the DPA dancers, she replied, "They're so talented, so gorgeous. I think my favorite dance was the fan dance - and how they used the fans - they really looked like flowers."
The thing she liked most about the show was how the dancers expressed their emotions. "They were so expressive and so beautiful. It taught me a lot about technique and it's great to see people performing and showing emotions. I feel that the show's Chinese ballet - even though it was classical - it was focusing a lot on how the dancers felt and what emotion they were trying to get across," she said.
She realised that the show had an underlying message weaving in and out of every performance, "There's not only the dancing, there is something deeper. I think they have really expressed the hope and joy that people can have in everyday life, not just while they're dancing. The performances contained a message of hope, that no matter what we go through, there is always something to hope for."
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