Slovakia: Divine Performing Arts Enjoys Great Success at First Stop on Tour of Post-Communist Countries

At the premiere of the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular at Bratislava's Slovak National Theater on the evening of Sunday March 9th, the audience honoured the performers with an enthusiastic standing ovation. Many audience members had tears in their eyes.

Slovakia was the first stop on Divine Performing Arts' tour of post-communist countries, and it was a complete success. A full house, about nine hundred people, attended the show. A number of them were ethnic Chinese.

Shanshan Zhong, who attended the opening with her husband Peter Kothaj, is originally from Shanghai. She recognized the Spectacular's authentic portrayal of Chinese culture.

"I am very proud because I am Chinese. It showcases our culture -- the real culture from China, so I am very proud," said Zhong. Ms. Zhong especially enjoyed the story of Yue Fei, a legendary general from the Song Dynasty, renowned for his bravery and his loyalty to his country.

"Yue Fei...he is our national hero. I don't think most foreigners know who he is. This show tells them who he is and why he is a hero."

Her husband, Peter Kothaj, said the Spectacular had given him "a connection with China," which he plans to visit in April. He said he particularly liked 'The Mongolian Bowl Dance' and 'Nymphs of the Sea.'

"I liked the drums," said Ms. Zhong. "It shows, you know, the power. [The show] makes you like... this is our country and makes me so proud, deep in my heart"

Zhong added that the Spectacular portrays how "women are so soft in China, very gentle, and men are very powerful; they go to war and fight for their country."

Zuzanna Zestakova, editor-in-chief of a publishing company, said she was impressed by the energetic drumming acts, as well as "The Mongolian Bowl Dance" and "Lightness and Grace."

I think just the very important universal, beautiful message of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance, and trying to work on our development and our consciousness...that is the universal thing... Everybody should really work on themselves, try to build up their consciousness," said Ms. Zestakova.

Zestakova commented on the two performances that depict the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Falun Gong is a meditation practice and spiritual discipline that has been brutally suppressed by the communist regime since 1999.

"They quite openly show the difficulties in China, the communist oppression. I think this is very courageous. People need to know more and more about that, they really need be aware of that because China has had such a strong spiritual, philosophical culture -- one of the strongest cultures in the human world."

Zestakova said people -- and especially the Chinese diaspora -- should press for change in China.

"It's really important, that people everywhere, and most of all probably Chinese people themselves everywhere in the world, should be doing something like... maybe slowly building some pressure that will bring change in China."

She added that it also crossed her mind during the show that the Chinese communist regime might be uncomfortable about the Chinese Spectacular. She said, "Wow, I'd like to know what those Chinese officials are thinking and doing about this show."

"And this is why I think it's amazing, in this national theater, it's not like some alternative club or something, it's a major theater. So you know it's like a big, official cultural event. It is very good to have happened."

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