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New York Times Readers ‘intrigued’ by ‘overly critical’ Coverage of Chinese Splendor

Posted by Author on February 11, 2008

By Matthew Robertson and Jason Loftus, Epoch Times Staff, Feb 10, 2008- Penny Cohn (R) and Sheila Chase (L) (Dayin Chen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—An unusual and highly critical New York Times story on the Chinese New Year Splendor playing in Manhattan failed to dampen audience interest in the show— but it made some curious.

The finale of 15 shows at the famed Radio City Music Hall played to a full house Saturday night. New York Times reader Penny Cohn, an account executive and building manager, came with her friend Sheila Chase, a psychology professor at Hunter College.

(photo: Penny Cohn (R) and Sheila Chase (L)/The Epoch Times)

Ms. Cohn said Radio City was an appropriate venue for a show with such large-scale dances.

“I thought the drummers were wonderful,” she said. “I enjoyed that. And I loved the scene at the Buddhist palace; I thought that was excellent, too.”

“Oh, I loved it,” added Ms. Chase, though she had more difficulty naming a favorite performance.

“I can’t tell you … well the first one [a performance called ‘Creation’] was so remarkable. I hadn’t seen anything like that.”

The two also raved about the sets projected on digital backdrops, and about the athleticism of the classical Chinese dancers.

Ms. Cohn found the live orchestra—a combination of Eastern and Western instruments—”wonderful.”

“I always had a different vision of Chinese instruments,” she said. “But it’s tuneful, more so than I first anticipated … I think the combination is really quite good.”

While the two shared much praise for the show, neither seemed able to grasp why a New York Times article published earlier in the week had been so one-sidedly critical of it.

That story drew most of its quotes from a handful of audience members—including one unnamed—who criticized content in the show related to Falun Gong, a spiritual group heavily persecuted in China by the communist regime. The group’s peaceful response to this persecution is depicted in the show.

While the Times story belittled this content, others have responded differently. Audience surveys on this year’s tour have shown 97 percent positive response to the show. Many of those interviewed by Epoch Times reporters have singled out the Falun Gong performances for praise.

Rather than be deterred by the critical article, Ms. Cohn said it made her want to learn more.

“In fact, it piqued my curiosity,” she said. Cohn agreed the story was “overly critical.”

“And not only that, it had a lot of space, too. I was quite intrigued with the amount of space it was given, I have to confess that.”

The Divine Performing Arts international touring companies land next in Germany and Japan.

For information on all upcoming shows, please visit: http://www.DivinePerformingArts.org/

Original report from the Epochtimes

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