MELBOURNE, Fla.—Shen Yun Performing Arts completed the Florida engagements of its 2012–2013 world tour in Melbourne, at the King Center on May 2. The artists performed to a full house and were warmly applauded throughout, with a standing ovation at the end.
This was the first-ever performance for Melbourne, a city on Florida’s Space Coast, about midway between Jacksonville and Miami, but word of the Shen Yun engagement spread quickly.
One theatergoer, a dancer who attended with her young daughter, a ballet student, said, “All the dancers in Brevard County are here watching the show tonight.” She was struck by the difficult, specialized technique of the dancers, with their turns and leaps. She also remarked on the gentle movement of the female dancers, “When they walk, it’s like they’re floating.”
Shen Yun is the premier Chinese dance company in the world. “Known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance, [Chinese dance] is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” the Shen Yun website states.
In addition to classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun features Chinese ethnic and folk dance. Through dance, Shen Yun artists present mini-dramas that draw on the stories and legends from China’s 5,000 years of history, as well as contemporary tales of courage in the face of evil.
New York-based Shen Yun draws top artists from around the world who join Shen Yun in its mission “to revive the true, divinely inspired culture of China and share it with the world,” the website states. China’s ancient culture, with its values, artistic expression, and reverence for the divine, was almost lost under decades of communist rule.
‘A Very Spiritual Culture’
Art Niergarth, a lawyer who owns his law firm, said, “I think it is fantastic—the color, the costumes, the tradition. The culture is awesome. I love the feel for the culture, for the 5,000 years—not only the entertainment value, but also the educational value of the Chinese history.
“I am amazed at that civilization. I think it’s phenomenal and a very spiritual culture,” Mr. Niergarth said. He brought his family and invited his friend Dave Cato and Mr. Cato’s wife.
Dennis Brown, health care administrator for an international company, remarked on the music: “The music is really magical. I’m enjoying the show with my wife and my daughter. We’re all having a wonderful time.”
The Shen Yun Orchestra blends Western and Chinese instruments for a distinct new sound. “Ancient Chinese instruments, such as the soul-stirring erhu and the delicate pipa, lead the melody on top of a full orchestra of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass,” according to the Shen Yun website.
Mr. Brown said the performance was especially fascinating to his family because his daughter is in a Chinese-immersion class at a public elementary school. “She’s been learning Chinese since kindergarten. She’s had three years of Mandarin Chinese, so this is really something else to watch,” he said.
Shen Yun “really shows off the Chinese culture, so we’re glad to watch it,” Mr. Brown said.
Mr. and Mrs. Douglas have a home in Scotland and live in Vero Beach in the wintertime. “Fabulous show!” Mr. Douglas said.
“I just thought that it had such a joyous reflection of the spiritual, and it goes back for so many years—from thousands of years, from when the culture really originated,” Mrs. Douglas said.
“I loved the show, absolutely loved it!” said John Cornell, a physicist. “The narrators did a superb job.” Emcees who are bilingual in English and Chinese provide all the background needed to enjoy the performance.
“The sets were beautiful,” Mr. Cornell said. “The dancers were so elegant and graceful. It was just absolutely fascinating! Mesmerizing!”
“Each little story … revealed one little part of the culture,” he said of the stories told through dance. “I think everybody is moved by such graceful and enchanting, wonderful stories. It’s hard not to be. It’s very spiritual. … I can’t say enough good things.”
Reporting by Vivian Shao, Elaine Zhang, Jada Yeung, and Louise Rothman
Shen Yun’s upcoming performances in May include Philadelphia, Honolulu, and Chicago, among others.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.