INDIANAPOLIS—Divine Performing Arts (DPA) delighted the audience at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis on Saturday, Jan. 31, with its unique presentation of Chinese traditional culture.
Ms. Hanson, executive vice president of a major Midwestern university, was highly impressed with DPA’s visual feast of classical Chinese dance and Chinese ethnic and folk dance performed to original music.
“It was marvelous,” she said. “It was sublime artistry. Spectacular—just marvelous in every respect.”
Ms. Hanson said she had seen the show before but not in its entirety. “The historical sweep, the beauty of every section of it—it was just inspiring.”
The New York-based DPA is composed of a unique group of leading artists who share in a vision of reviving Chinese traditional culture which was all but destroyed after the advent of communism to China.
“One of the things that struck me was the kind of melding of the arts into the performance and the window into culture, as well as the really superb artistry of every one of the performers, singers, and dancers, each one individually. Together it was breathtaking,” Ms. Hanson said.
When asked what she thought about the message the show imparted, she said, “It was wonderful. The sort of emphasis on compassion is something we can all learn a lesson from.”
Ms. Hanson added that she thought the show “was a marvelous window into all sorts of elements of Chinese arts and culture. My home discipline is philosophy, so I loved hearing about Confucius too—the same message of Socrates, about knowing what you don’t know.”
Commenting on other aspects of the show, Ms. Hanson said that the projected backdrops “were quite intriguing. I don’t know enough technologically to know how that’s produced, but it was an interesting way of conveying various elements of the narrative.”
DPA makes use of an innovative digital backdrop that provides an animated setting to frame each dance. In some of the pieces, the scenes on the backdrop interact with the dances on stage.
The show also features accomplished solo singers and musicians as well as a live orchestra that combines Chinese and Western music and instruments
“The music was wonderful too in each of the episodes of the singing and dancing. There was humor in the introduction of the orchestra. I think we all learned something and had a great experience,” Ms. Hanson said.
She described the piece, Mulan Joins the Battle as “terrific.” A legend in Chinese history, Mulan joined the army disguised as a man in her ailing father’s place.
Ms. Hanson concluded by saying that the show “taught all of us a lot about the history of Chinese culture …. Bringing things from the various provinces was a wonderful element of the show too. It was terrific.”