SYDNEY—Miss M is an overseas student from Hebei Province in China. She has lived in Australia for five years and saw the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company for the first time at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre—an experience she can’t yet have in her beloved homeland.
“I felt the show was very beautiful,” Miss M said, after the matinee on Feb. 13. “It’s different from the shows inside mainland China, like the Chinese New Year’s Eve Show done every year by CCTV—they’re all far inferior.”
Shen Yun was founded in 2006 by a talented group of artists with a passion to reawaken China’s divinely-inspired civilization, almost lost to six decades of communist rule.
“It (Shen Yun) is able to show the true, genuine Chinese culture, because the shows in China, they don’t go beyond the superficial,” Miss M said. ”In fact, Chinese culture isn’t that simple. Especially the Han Chinese culture, as well as the different minority ethic groups (in China). For example, people think Chinese ethnic is like the Qi Pao, but in fact it’s the Han clothing, with the long sleeves.”
That sense of a deeper heritage made the dance The Han Royal Court appeal to her. “I liked that one. They were wearing the genuine Han clothing.”
Miss M said the entire Shen Yun production was authentic. “Yes, it’s a genuine representation of China’s traditions. That’s really what genuine Chinese ethnic culture is.”
She saw a show hosted by Shi Tao on NTD (New Tang Dynasty) Television, which she really enjoyed, and it made her want to see the performance. “He talked about Shen Yun, so I came to see it.”
Miss M was deeply impressed by the two dances highlighting the courage displayed by the practitioners of the ancient spiritual discipline, Falun Gong. It is a peaceful practice of meditation and exercise, but has been severely, violently persecuted by the communist regime. Part of the persecution involves a propaganda campaign demonizing those who practice Falun gong.
“In the past I very, very much misunderstood Falun Gong,” said Miss M.
She used to live in the State of Victoria and saw people selling tickets in the shopping centre there, she said.
“I remember clearly, and some people approached me to buy tickets. But when I saw its association with Falun Dafa I decided I definitely wouldn’t go to see the show.”
“This is how I felt before. I worked in the shopping centre and when I saw Falun Gong material I would put it in the rubbish bin …”
“Before, I didn’t understand Falun Gong, now I understand. I really began understanding from watching NTD programs … I feel it shows the truth …”
Miss M said the dancers’ movements were perfectly synchronised with the music, props and digital backdrop scenery. “Especially how the backdrop worked with the dancers. They seemed to fly away, it added dimension to the performance, very beautiful movements.”
She said the purity of the Shen Yun performers shone throughout the show -- the dancers, musicians and soloists, alike.
“Because Falun Gong is persecuted in China, a lot of people in China have a negative reaction to Falun Gong. I was also like that before. But now I know Falun Gong isn’t a cult. I think the dances about Falun Gong were very reasonable, accurate.”
‘A brave performance’
Also at the Capitol Theatre to see the Shen Yun performance was a lady who arrived in Australia from Guangzhou less than a month ago. She, too, shall remain unnamed for her protection.
“It’s a very brave performance! Very good, very good,” she said. “After seeing it I feel very happy. I feel very proud that I am Chinese. The standard of the performance was too high! Very good.”
She said she felt like a new person and very excited.
“I feel very happy. It’s truly difficult to be able to see a show like this. I haven’t even been in Australia for a month, to be able to see this … I’m really thankful to my friend for inviting me.”
But the dance that will linger in her heart for a long time was the grand finale, Divine Mercy
“Being in the environment of mainland China for so long … where you can’t see such things, and today I’ve seen it! Especially now it’s Chinese New Year. Seeing this, I will definitely have a good year this year!”
“Yes, truly very lucky, because this show … it’s not easy for me to be able to see it. These words are from my heart—the final performance, it’s so difficult to see something like this.”
Reporting by Oliver Perrett and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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