WELLINGTON, New Zealand—The world renowned Chinese classical dance and music company Shen Yun Performing Arts was a rewarding experience for Jean and Ellen Kibblewhite when it came to Wellington’s St. James Theatre, Feb. 5.
The company was formed in 2006 with aim of presenting to the world Chinese traditional culture in its true form. Its performances encompass story-based classical dances interspersed with ethnic and folk dances, all to the background of a live orchestra composed of both Western and Eastern traditional instruments.
Jean Kibblewhite is the co-owner of a family fishing company and Ellen, her daughter is an apprentice electrician.
The two women were ecstatic after watching the New York-based company on Tuesday evening.
“Wonderful! Beautiful,” were the words Mrs. Kibblewhite used to describe her feelings after they had watched the performance for the first time.
Ellen, who is a keen dancer, was amazed by the beauty and flexibility of the dancers’ hand movements. She recognized that it required considerable training to perfect the movement and shape of the hands.
Mrs. Kibblewhite enjoyed how the performance gave wide coverage to the many different provinces and their varied ethnic dances.
Ellen marvelled at the way technology was used to create backdrops to great effect.
Shen Yun’s animated hi-tech backdrops integrate with the stage performance in a way that allows the audience to be transported to another time and realm
Ellen enjoyed the music explaining how she had noticed that the different parts of a dance were accompanied by different complimentary musical arrangements.
She also learned about wisdom and the principle of reincarnation [Descending to the World]. In this piece, the Lord Buddha calls upon the heavenly host to descend with him to earth, according to the Shen Yun programme booklet.
“Get it right so that you can go back to heaven,” said Ellen.
Ellen’s mother also learnt about the persecution in China of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice whose followers have, since July 1999, been banned from openly practising their principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance.
Two of the story-based dances portray messages of both sadness and hope for the practitioners of this traditional meditational discipline.
“I’ll tell all my friends how beautiful [Shen Yun] is,” said Ellen, whose friends, like herself, are keen dancers.
Reporting by Daisy Lee and Diane Cordemans.
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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