BRISBANE, Australia—After days of heavy flooding, warm summer sunshine brought hundreds of tourists and city dwellers to QPAC’s Lyric Theatre to see Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company perform from Feb. 1-3.
New York-based Shen Yun, hailed as the world’s premier company of classical Chinese dance and music, held four shows that drew packed houses—the last one almost full to its 2,500-seat capacity.
Queensland State Senator Mark Furner was at the performance held Saturday afternoon, Feb. 2, and was blown away.
Shen Yun’s mission is to bring to life 5,000 years of China’s divine cultural heritage onstage through ancient legends, folk tales, and contemporary stories in exciting ways, according to the Shen Yun website.
“The performance, as a whole, gives insight into Chinese culture, but with a modern twist,” Mr. Furner said. “It was just magnificent—the scenery, the costumes, the colours—vibrant, beautiful, and really mind-blowing.”
He now has a photograph of the company members, which will “take pride of place” in his Parliament House office.
And as the picture attracts comment from parliamentarians coming and going, Mr. Furner will tell them, “if they should get an opportunity to see Shen Yun, they should take the opportunity … It’s energising, it’s vibrant.”
Mr. Furner had officially issued the performing arts company a welcome certificate to Brisbane, and wished the company well on upcoming journeys to Sydney, Feb. 11-12 and Canberra, Feb. 15-17.
At Sunday’s matinee, Liberal National Party (LNP) Anthony Shorten, Member for Algester in the Queensland State Parliament, also presented a certificate to Shen Yun, only this one was “in appreciation for their efforts and bringing joy and happiness to so many people.”
“I have never seen anything like this before, and the way I would describe this would be energizing, full of life and full of colour, just beautiful, beautiful colours,” Mr. Shorten said.
“We all know that China has a very old culture, 5,000-odd years, but Shen Yun brings a modernisation to that, opening it up to a wider audience.”
Mr. Shorten said not everyone has an opportunity to travel to China, and not everyone has an interest in history.
“Shen Yun does bring a little bit of that to the stage—but just the magnificent dancing by the performers and the beautiful costumes. They are the memories people will take away with them.”
Gold Coast Councillor Lex Bell was also enchanted by the show.
“I thought it was really excellent, very professional,” he said. “The performers were very skilled. The costumes were excellent … it’s very thrilling and I go home very happy.”
Mr. Bell said that traditional Chinese culture was presented in a most interesting fashion.
“It wasn’t really a cultural lesson, it was more entertainment, and certainly there’s the culture behind it and yes, I go home more informed than before.”
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate attended Shen Yun Performing Arts’ second show at the Lyric Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 2.
Mr. Tate appreciated the quality of the dances and the variety of the program.
“I think it’s a good mixture between artistry, and also everyone makes it look so easy and they’re light on their feet, but at the same time, every single part, there’s always a message you can take away,” he said.
Some of the performances depict the ancient Chinese belief that good is rewarded with good and evil repaid with suffering. Mayor Tate agreed with this ideology, saying that these ideals would improve society
“Sometimes people have to stand up for what they believe, so each part of course has different messages.”
“Personally, I believe that if you do good, you will get good back, so if everyone believes in that, the more chance that everyone will do good and it will make the world a better place.”
Brisbane City Councillor Norm Wyndham attended Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company’s opening show on Friday evening, Feb. 1.
“I’m enjoying it, it’s very different,” the local government official said of the performance, adding that he particularly appreciated the variation of the different styles of dance.
Mr. Wyndham said the Shen Yun dances were of good quality and of a high standard.
He said he has attended many different dance events, and commented that “all countries have a uniqueness to their dance to try to tell their stories—China’s many provinces have many aspects.”
LNP Senator Sue Boyce was also in the audience enjoying the performance
“Australia is a very old land but it’s a very young nation, only 225 years compared to China’s very long history,” Ms. Boyce said. “I haven’t seen any traditional Chinese dancing before. I’m loving the costumes, and the sets, and the really superb dancing,” she said.
“I think it is important for all of us to know about each other’s cultures. I imagine there’s lot of Chinese people that don’t know about their own culture, so I think it’s important for Australians and I think it’s important all nations understand each others cultures.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Mary Yuan and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will head across the Tasman for shows in Wellington, Feb. 5-6 and Auckland, Feb. 8-9. The company will then return to Sydney and Canberra before heading to Taiwan. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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