LONDON—Shen Yun has often attracted interest and acclaim from other performing artists, and their third show at London’s renowned Barbican Centre on March 7 was no exception.
Film and theatre actor Michael Swatton was in the audience and found the performance to be really vibrant.
“It’s full of colour, it’s full of something which is different and I think it’s good for opening the mind and opening the soul”, he said.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts seek to revive 5000 years of civilisation and the traditional values that have always been integral to divinely-inspired Chinese culture. Story-based dance depicts heroic legends from various dynasties and also includes tales of courage from the present day.
“Just to see people dance and express their life, which is representing Chinese ancestry, is fascinating and enlightening to see because I don’t know much about Chinese ancestry and the Chinese culture,” Mr. Swatton said.
He felt that with such a huge geographical nation with such a rich history there were some great examples in Shen Yun of inspiring historical tales such as the piece When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor. He was also impressed by the ethnic diversity represented in Shen Yun, mentioning the example of the Mongolian Bowl Dance and commenting on another ethnic dance:
“Just seeing the Tibetan dance last was quite amazing. With Everest in the background, it’s fantastic.”
A unique feature of Shen Yun is the state-of-the-art digital projection of images such as mountains, landscapes, and heavenly realms.
Through campaigns like the Cultural Revolution, traditional culture and it’s artistic expression has been repressed in contemporary China. In relation to this issue, Mr. Swatton felt that he took away a key message of hope from the Shen Yun performance.
“I think freeing creativity in a country and a nature that has been oppressed for so long is a vital course to take,” he said.
Mr. Swatton would not hesitate in recommending Shen Yun.
“I would say ‘guys get along there because it’s enlightening. It gives you something which you haven’t experienced before’.”
Actress and dancer, Ioulia, was also in the audience and was particularly impressed by the standard of the classical Chinese dance.
“I’m an actor and a dancer as well, so I enjoyed the dancing bits and how gracious the dancers were and professional, and the very high quality of their performance,” she said.
According to the Shen Yun website, Chinese dance is at the heart of the Shen Yun performance. Known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world.
“The beautiful girls with the sleeves were fantastic, fantastic”, Ioulia said in reference to the piece Ancient Elegance.”[They] made my day. I was waiting for such a performance for a very long time. For ten years I’ve been dreaming to come and see something like this, so this is my dream come true today.”
This dance depicts a group of fairies skilfully spinning with long silken sleeves, their attire an exquisite example of the flowing and colourful costumes in Shen Yun. “I loved when the three of them were flying, the girls with the sleeves. They were like dancing leaves on the wind. That was beautiful,” Ioulia said.
Reporting by NTD Television, Sound of Hope Radio and Simon Miller.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 21 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.