Lunar New Year Performances Go Live at Brookfield Place

With an eye to safety, musicians and dancers display their talents in short programs for small audiences

| 25 Feb 2021 | 09:29

Public arts performances have been hard to come by since the pandemic started, leaving performers with very little in terms of work. However, almost a year into the pandemic event planners are coming up with ways that artists can display their talents in the safest way possible.

Brookfield Place’s Lunar New Year performances are great examples of performances with the community’s safety as its first priority.

These performances will run for 15 minutes at a time, with only six audience members allowed in a room at a single time. Performers will be wearing masks at almost all times, with the only exception being moments where there is plexiglass between the audience and performers.

“The level of the atmosphere is different,” said Yang Wang, a prodigy of the Erhu, a two-stringed traditional Chinese instrument played with a bow. Wang has been performing on Sundays at Brookfield. “If I am performing for a music festival or a big event with a lot of audiences, I would play something hot, with strong beats and bass so people can dance to it. Maybe one less energetic song in the middle just for switching the vibe. For the STUDIO BFPL with a small group of audiences, I particularly pick some peaceful music. Traditional Erhu has such a healing but also sad tone. I want to create something elegant and not too big of an experience for my audiences.”

Wang is familiar with both large and small audiences, and while an artist would definitely prefer a larger audience for a performance like this, he states that there are definitely some positives to a smaller audience.

“I feel it is easier to make connections with a small group of audiences,” Wang said. “I get the feedback and reactions right there. Since the Brookfield Place Studio only allows six people at one time, sometimes people were late or missed the schedule, so I only had one or two audience members. Two ladies danced while I was playing, and I also did several short Q&A’s after the session. I love it, It feels like you just play for your friends at their apartment, no pressure at all.”

Great Escape for Artists

These performances are a great escape for these artists, who have mostly been holed up rehearsing or performing digital concerts via Zoom. At the same time, these performances have been a great reminder to audience members of the true passion and consideration that these artists put into their craft.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic there’s been a dip in creative motivation, a large part of it is because see live dance or hear live music,” said Kenny So, a dancer and student at Stony Brook University. “You can watch performances digitally all you want, but it’s never the same, and that goes for any art. With the safety precautions that BFPL is taking I think this is a great event to push start that creative motivation in people.”

These performances are happening bi-weekly, through March 14.

Friday times feature dance performances by Dance China NY, the resident touring company at the New York Chinese Cultural Center. These traditional and contemporary folk and classical dances will run from 5-7 p.m.

Sunday times feature Wang, as well as Sun Wei, the principal performer of Guzheng for the Chinese National Orchestra in New York.

A wait list is available for upcoming dates, with clear instruction of all safety precautions being taken by both Brookfield and the performers.

More information is available on the Brookfield Place website.