CANBERRA, Australia—People from all walks of life attended the Canberra Theatre on Sunday, Feb. 17, for the final performance of the Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company in Australia as part of its world tour this year.
Mary Louise Willheim, now retired, has a law degree from Adelaide, worked as a judge’s associate, and then for the Attorney’s General’s Department, and also for senate committees in Parliament House, Canberra.
“I think it’s very good,” she said. “It’s quite interesting, quite novel.”
Shen Yun uses state-of-the-art, digital backdrops which interact with the performers onstage. Ms. Willheim mentioned the backdrops as a new feature she had not seen before.
“You know the idea of some creature or person coming to video, and then actually appearing onstage, I think that’s really quite novel,” she said.
Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle, according to the company website. Ms. Willheim found this to be the case. “Very colourful the Chinese,” she said. “Magnificent costumes, just to see those I think is a real treat.”
Classical Chinese dance has been passed down for thousands of years continuously through the imperial courts, and is one of the most comprehensive dance forms in the world.
“Very good precision dancing,” Ms. Willheim said. “I think they’re very skilled.”
Masters of ceremonies come onstage between each performance to explain some of the story or cultural heritage behind each dance. Many audience members find this very informative, adding to their appreciation of each piece.
“I think it’s very good and it’s quite interesting to hear the explanations beforehand from both an English speaker and a young Chinese woman,” Ms. Willheim said.
Shen Yun tours with a full orchestra, combining classical Western instruments and traditional instruments, which seamlessly blend the two systems to create a uniquely fresh sound. Ms. Wellhein enjoyed the various instruments and their different sounds.
The dance called An Unexpected Encounter depicts a father and daughter harmlessly taking photos when they get caught in the brutality of oppression by the Chinese Communist regime.
Ms. Wellheim found it interesting. “I was very surprised, I thought it was very good that they staged something like that actually because I don’t know but I imagined a lot of that sort of thing, clamping down on people is still part of the Chinese culture, the communist culture.”
‘Well worth’ Two-Hour Drive
Beverly Dent, a secretary, and her husband Ron, a shop assistant, drove over two hours from the south coast to see Shen Yun in Canberra, after they received a flyer in their letterbox and felt they should take this rare opportunity to it.
“Spectacular,” Mrs. Dent said. “I was overwhelmed by it all, the colour, the precision, it was just really wonderful.”
Mr. Dent said it was “well worth the effort of driving two hours.”
He added: “the precision, absolutely spectacular … the precision and the colour.”
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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