"Impressive, fascinating, wonderful!" This was the impression left on renowned German historian Professor Arnulf Baring after he attended the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular at the Berlin International Congress Center on March 14th, 2008. He appreciated the grand-scale dances, with dozens of dancers moving in sync, and the combination of beautiful costumes, backdrops and dances. He found the last drum dance, "Victory Drums" very powerful. "The dancing by the men was powerful and impressive, including the banishing of the specters and the strengthening of the good powers inside each human being with the drums."
|Renowned German historian Professor Arnulf Baring and his wife Gabriele Baring at the opening of the Chinese Spectacular in Berlin|
Professor Baring said that what he found most amazing was Ms. Qi Xiaochun's Erhu performance. "The sound was simply beautiful. I've seen Beijing Opera in Hong Kong before, but that kind of music was strange to us. My heart was most deeply touched today, because the music is not only for Chinese, but also for us European people."
Professor Arnulf Baring is a historian and journalist, and also a leading member of several German political think tanks. He was not surprised at the ongoing interference by Chinese embassies and consulates in their effort to stop the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular shows. He said, "I can very well understand this. The dictatorial regime fears the power in the principles presented by this show. What I mean by this are the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolerance. Anyone who lives by these principles will be set free, will be freed from within and become strong."
Professor Baring believed that in the future, China will return to the ancient virtues that were lived by in the past. He said, "This is going to happen. It will give it a flexibility and dynamic way, just as can be seen on this stage. There is room for much forging of the people. Yes, the situation in China is not everywhere alike. I had a similar impression when visiting Kyrgyzstan. It is somewhat represented by the Herding on the Mongolian Plains dance. All this is part of China."
Professor Baring pointed out, "The 'stability' propagated in today's China will lead only to stagnation, something that can do no good for any nation. That could be clearly seen in the former DDR [German Democratic Republic]."
Professor Baring also learned that the Chinese Consulate recently threatened the sponsoring company in Munich to cancel the Chinese Spectacular. The consulate staff threatened a cooling of relations between China and Germany if the show was allowed to go ahead. Professor Baring feels that we cannot be cowardly and worried that we might step on the toes of the Chinese. He says that Ms. Merkel did the correct thing to show that Germany did not fear the Chinese Communist Party's threats. He said he actually was under the impression that one should demand the Chinese government to move more towards the direction of democratic behavior.
Professor Baring heard about the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular from his wife, a family therapist in Berlin. Having seen last year's Spectacular as well, Mrs. Baring said that what she found stronger this year was "the harmony in the colors, the combination of the themes, the demeanor of the dancers, the backdrops and the costumes."
Mrs. Baring also appreciated the stage backdrop in the first scene of the opening act, "Descent of the Celestial Kings." She thought it to be the most wonderful scene. She was also impressed by the dance describing water ("Nymphs of the Sea").
Besides enjoying herself with the beautiful entertainment, Mrs. Baring had an unexpected experience. "I arrived for this show totally stressed out after a long and chaotic day. Now, I'm relaxed, refreshed and my life is balanced again. I see this strengthening coming from this wonderful art, the artists and the performance."
Mrs. Baring continued, "What touched me the most was 'The Power of Awareness,' just before the end of the show. When at the end all the actors sat on the ground, stretching out their arms, and more and more people appeared in the background, more and more people appeared holding the same posture...further and further away into the distance. They were all very quiet, very quiet and so filled with strength. This too gave me strength and encouragement."
Professor Baring agreed with his wife in this regard. "One finds that the strength to change is there in the courage shown in this performance. This is something I learned from this show. A wonderful evening and I'm grateful that I could be here tonight."
Seventy-five year-old Professor Baring is a Doctor of Law, but for decades, he has been engaged in historical research and is known as a "living encyclopedia" of German history since the second World War. He has written numerous historical masterpieces.
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