WELLINGTON, New Zealand—New York based Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company played to a packed house for the final performance at the St. James Theatre on Feb. 6.
Jendy Perryman who works for Tourism New Zealand treated her mother, Barbara Shannon, for her birthday. She was drawn to Shen Yun by the banners and her desire “to see the [the] beautiful movements of your artists.”
Ms. Perryman was not disappointed. “I think just the dedication of the artists and the hard work that they’ve put in … you could really see by their movements and their gracefulness how much training had gone in behind to present such a beautiful show.”
Ms. Shannon agreed saying, “I was really impressed with the agility of the dancers and [their] gracefulness. It must be hours and hours of practice to dance like that, and be so dedicated. They’re really beautiful.”
Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Classical Chinese dance has been passed down through the imperial courts for thousands of years and embodies traditional aesthetic principles.
Ms Shannon is now retired from a career as a colour consultant for interior design. Her eye for colour and the blending of colours was treated to a rare delight.
“I absolutely adored the costuming; that was so beautiful and such detail! It was absolutely lovely to see. And the colours too—the colours made you feel so happy. The blends of the colours, they were just absolutely beautiful, they really flowed,” Ms. Shannon said.
The handmade costumes are made from delicate, brilliantly coloured fabrics which are ornately decorated.
Shen Yun presents snapshots of five millennia of Chinese civilization through myths and legends and contemporary stories and includes dances from many ethnic areas.
Ms. Perryman really appreciated this aspect. “We did see a lot of different areas and different minorities’ dances which was really fabulous. Beautiful,” she said.
“It has a long history … different areas of culture as well. There was quite a lot of representation of the dances and different ethnic groups within China; that was interesting. Also, just the different value system was really interesting to see.”
She added, “it was quite spiritual really. I thought it was interesting.”
Shen Yun’s orchestra is particularly unique in that it combines a Western philharmonic orchestra with classical Chinese instruments to create a fresh, harmonious sound.
“It was interesting because you had the Western music and the Chinese music … I liked the idea of it being mixed.”
There were many aspects of Shen Yun that appealed to Ms Perryman but it was how it all blended together that really impressed her.
The dancers blending with the backdrop was amazing, she said.
“The music was quite powerful and the graphics were fantastic.”
Reporting by Daisy Lee and Leigh Smith.
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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