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Producer/director: ‘It’s the kind of thing everybody should see’

January 11, 2009

By Lisa Ou and Joan Delan
Epoch Times
Jan 8, 2009
 
TORONTO―Divine Performing Arts, the world's premier Chinese dance and music company, began its seven-day run at Toronto’s John Bassett Theatre on Thursday evening with a standing ovation.
 
Among the audience delighted with the unique cultural show was Ms. Hennessy, who works in the theatrical business as an actor, writer, producer and director.
 
“It’s fantastic. You know it’s really wonderful to sit here and see such beauty and precision, and it’s things that I didn’t know about,” she said.
 
The DPA orchestra breaks new ground by combining Chinese and Western instruments, lending an unforgettable element to each dance. Ms. Hennessy said she found the music “very moving and very calming.”
 
“When you realize that part of your medicine comes from music, all of a sudden I felt like you were giving us a great gift, or the show was giving us a great gift, by giving us the music―never mind the visual extravaganza, the beauty of it. And the orchestra is spectacular. And so I feel like there’s a bit of a healing going on…. There seems to be some kind of energy that’s coming from the stage that’s very powerful and it’s very emotional.”
 
Ms Hennessy was especially impressed with the piece, “Dance of the Snow-capped Mountain,” an ethnic dance from Tibet.
 
“It was great to see the Tibetan dance. It’s just really moving. I find it very, very moving. I’m a Buddhist, so on top of it all it’s just really wonderful to sit here and see a company of ethnic Chinese doing such provocative spiritual, theatrical [performances].”
 
In its celebration of traditional Chinese culture, New York-based DPA is the only company in the world that performs pure, strictly authentic Chinese classical dance as part of its repertoire.
 
“The costumes are spectacular,” said Ms. Hennessy. “The technique of the dancers is wonderful. I love that you’ve got two hosts that are speaking . . . [two] languages and explaining what it is because it even helps me more culturally what the expression is. I mean of course the dancers are spectacular and they’re wonderful and the costumes are wonderful and the multimedia is fantastic.”
 
The show depicts myths and legends from ancient China, contrasting with stories from modern-day China where spiritual belief is persecuted. One such story shows the father of a young girl being persecuted by the communist party for his belief in the spiritual practice of Falun Dafa.
 
“I know that culturally they’ve been under a communist regime and they’ve gone through some pretty hard times, and not having their spirituality allowed,” said Ms. Hennessy, who works with an organization aiming to erect a monument to the victims of communism.
 
“It really was very moving for me to be able to see that it’s still being promoted and that there are still people who believe in their historic rights. And they’re telling the story. I think that a lot of people don’t know about the history and just really what goes on in China today and in recent history.”
 
Ms. Hennessy concluded by saying that the DPA performance is “really the kind of thing that everybody should see. It’s important for everyone to know, whether it’s China, North Korea, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Tibet. . . there’s got to be a teaching mode, and I think the arts is very provocative and offers a very open forum for people to come and learn without it being political―it is cultural and it is historic.”
 
“I have a lot of Asian friends. I do yoga and we all go to a specific yoga studio in town. They didn’t know I was coming here and I told them “you should all come to see this show.”
 
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts 2009 World Tour.
For more information, please see DivinePerformingArts.org
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