WELLINGTON, New Zealand—Shen Yun Performing Arts received huge applause for its opening performance at one of Wellington’s oldest and beloved theatres, the St. James, on Tuesday, Feb 5.
Carol Miller had brought her daughter, Mala, to see Shen Yun to celebrate Mala’s birthday.
New York-based Shen Yun displays the diversity of Chinese traditional culture. Chinese classical dances are intermingled with ethnic and folk dances, in the company’s quest to revive a culture that was largely destroyed over the last 60 years of communist rule.
Shen Yun was astounding, said Ms. Miller, a former ballet teacher. “Of course [there's] the colour, and divine costumes, and the very controlled and perfect choreography.”
“All the dancers were strong, there was nobody who stood out or seemed weak in the company. And they’re controlled, they’ve amazing looseness … they were good with leaps, they were good with turns, very polished and good all-rounders,” she said.
Ms. Miller loved the animated hi-tech backdrops where “people come flying down off the screen onto the stage.”
Mala, a facilitator for government funded medical alarms, added, “The timing was amazing. Every time it was perfectly timed when [the performers] … hit the water,” she said, referring to animated backgrounds with life-like oceans that are an integral part of different stories that unfold on stage.
The interweaving of the different colours and patterns brought out feelings of compassion and divinity, said Mala.
Ms. Miller said, “I was moved to tears a few times. It was very uplifting. They use their costumes brilliantly with their movement. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
The dancers’ portrayal of good versus evil in today’s China—the communist regime’s persecution of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice. was touching for Mala. “I think that it is true beauty and compassion.”
Falun Dafa is an ancient spiritual practice of meditation and gentle exercises. Its practitioners, who follow the principals of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, have been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since July 1999.
“How brave it is [to] nurture that tradition when it’s so beautiful, to try and protect it and bring it back. It’s very special,” she said.
Mala expressed surprise when she saw that Shen Yun had been accompanied by an orchestra. She was delighted that the combination of classical European and traditional Chinese instruments was bringing cultures together.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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