SYDNEY—While thousands of people in the Chinese community celebrated the Chinese New Year by eating out, or watching lion dancers and fire works, psychologist Leanne Davis watched Shen Yun Performing Arts in Sydney, Australia.
It was the opening night at Capitol Theatre, which is one of Sydney’s most-treasured heritage buildings, where Ms. Davis saw the New York-Based Shen Yun give a vibrant performance.
“I thought it was very colourful, and they are very talented dancers,” she said.
The Shen Yun dancers perform varied dance styles spanning from one side of the Chinese mainland to the other. The spectators can experience how ethnic groups in China express themselves, as well as the deeply rooted culture that is present in all the dances.
“I would say that it covers a very wide range of the culture, that it covers many, many years because it’s 5,000 years. I think the production has done very well to present Chinese culture in all its entirety. It’s very diverse, I didn’t realize it was so diverse” she said.
For example, in the dance Dancing for the Gods the Tibetan men showcase their grace and enduring strength through energetic footwork and through waving long, graceful, white sleeves, the program notes.
In Mongolian Bowl Dance the women show their grace and hospitality through balancing bowls on their heads; the bowl is a symbol for “welcome”. The Mongolian ladies show strength and resilience, yet the dance is gentle and feminine.
“Yes, I really enjoyed the way they balance, the balancing of the bowls on their heads, that was a fantastic dance and I really liked the last dance with the Tibetan dance with the men and their very, very grounded dancing, very good,” she said.
Shen Yun Performing Arts uses digital backdrops on stage to fully set the scene in which the dance is taking place. In some instances, a character in a dance will appear to leave the stage and fly up into the heavens before the audience’s eyes-with the help of clever animation.
“it was far more colourful than what I was expecting, and I didn’t expect the backdrops either so that was a bit of a surprise.
“It was quite interesting to see the dancers going up into the heavens and then landing on earth again, so that was very different for me,” said Ms. Davis.
Apart form the visual and cultural aspect, Ms. Davis appreciated learning about the current situation in China regarding the persecution of certain spiritual groups, such as Falun Dafa, by China’s Communist Party.
“I think it’s a very uplifting show. I think it’s very positive in its message. I also like that idea that they did show a little bit about some persecution and how it is tough over there for some minority groups and their different belief systems and I thought that was very good that [they] built that in,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Chani Blue.
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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