February 6, 2008


A Glimpse of Chinese Culture That Some Find Hard to Watch (ERIC KONIGSBERG, 2/06/08, NY Times)

Each of the first few numbers was more elaborate than the last, teeming with acrobatic dancers, awash in jewel-toned silks, swelling to the anthemic strains of the orchestra. It was the opening night of Chinese New Year Splendor, a music and dance production that began at Radio City Music Hall last week.

Then the lyrics to some of the songs, sung in Chinese but translated into English in the program, began referring to “persecution” and “oppression.” Each time, almost at the moment a vocalist hit these words, a few audience members collected their belongings and trudged up an aisle toward the exit.

Before long came a ballet piece in which three women were imprisoned by a group of officers, and one was killed. At the end of the number, more members of the audience, in twos and fours and larger groups, began to walk out. At intermission, dozens of people, perhaps a few hundred, were leaving.

They had realized that the show was not simply a celebration of the Chinese New Year, but an outreach of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice of calisthenics and meditation that is banned in China. [...]

“I don’t feel comfortable here,” said Elizabeth Levy, an author of children’s books who was among the first to leave. “I had no idea when I came that this was about Falun Gong.”

...making folks face the truth about the PRC. What next, movies where the Islamicists are the bad guys and Americans the good?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2008 12:21 PM

It isn't the fashionable kind of oppression that they can support.

("Free Tibet!" "Um, how?" "With bumperstickers!")

Posted by: Mikey at February 6, 2008 5:08 PM

I watched the show with my family. Unlike a few thought the show was a bit long, I thought it was a little short. Time past by so quickly, I felt we only spent an hour there. I liked the Mongolian bowl dance the most, it needs a lot of practices to keep the bowls balanced on the head. The dancers are gifted. I also liked the orchestra mixing Chinese instruments with the western's. I consider this a really good combination. The show was great. My whole family loves it.

Posted by: nancy at February 22, 2008 9:08 PM