SYDNEY—”Amazing,” said Nick Ballantyne, when he attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Capital Theatre on Feb. 11.
Mr. Ballantyne is an IT technician and ex-ballroom dancer, he attended the performance with his partner and mother Debra.
Based in New York Shen Yun has four touring companies which tour the world simultaneously. With classical Chinese dance at its heart Shen Yun also includes folk and ethnic dance alongside story based dance, solo singing and instrumental performances.
Mr. Ballantyne was very pleased Shen Yun had come to Australia. “Very rich, it’s just very different. I’m very lucky to be here to see it”.
As an ex-ballroom dancer Mr. Ballantyne could appreciate the diversity and the choreography of the dance techniques.
“Very colourful, very well choreographed, brilliant stories,” he said. “I didn’t know it [classical Chinese dance] was so diverse in its dancing technique. I didn’t realize it was so eclectic.”
Classical Chinese dance, one of the most comprehensive dance systems in existence. According it its website, classical Chinese dance includes “combinations of leaps, turns, flips, spins, and other aerial and tumbling techniques,”
“It’s much more choreographed in the sense that you have more dancers on stage,” he said.
Mr. Ballentyne was taken with the whole performance; a particular highlight was the soprano singer. The vocalists sing Chinese lyrics using the bel canto technique, an unparalleled vocal accomplishment.
“It’s just amazing, takes you on a journey through all the types of Chinese art in the form of dance. … The soprano singer was just beautiful—a very, wonderful experience,” he said.
Mr. Ballantyne expressed how important it was for Shen Yun to bring ancient Chinese culture here.
“We have a very large Chinese culture here in Australia and I think it’s important we understand what their traditions and culture are. Because we are a society, very diverse cultures mixed together, so it’s very important.”
‘An eye opening experience’
Colleagues Alex Hezari, owner of a commercial real estate franchise and Amy Drossley, a commercial real estate agent were both moved and saddened by the piece, The Power Of Compassion which depicts the persecution in China of the spiritual practice Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation practice.
“For someone who has an appreciation of culture and history for me it has been a real eye opening experience,” he said. “I think they carried a very strong message.”
“Traditional Chinese culture and art forms—informed over millennia by the three pillars of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism—were largely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and decades of suppression by the communist regime,” says the Shen Yun website.
“[Shen Yun] brings the awareness of the bigger picture. I think and it’s important that people like that are given their freedom back to exercise. Something that’s so beautiful and obviously so good for the mind and the spirit,” said Mr. Hezari.
“Every country has its different beliefs but I feel that it is wrong that they don’t allow [the spiritual practice] to carry on,” said Ms. Drossley.
Both Mr. Hezari and Ms. Drossley thought the performance should be seen by a far wider audience as it is important for everyone to learn about the traditional Chinese culture as well as the persecution of Falun Gong that continues to this day.
Many of the dances performed are story-based mini-dramas based on the divinely inspired ancient principles. The Magic Brush caught Mr. Hezari’s attention, “I thought that was really interesting,” he said.
“It’s beautiful, the choreography is amazing, beautiful dancers, it’s a beautiful piece and it tells a lovely story—wonderful,” added Ms. Drossley.
‘I think it’s terrific’
David Faulkner, plant nursery owner and rotary club branch president attended the performance with his wife and friend. He thought Shen Yun was terrific and it had exceeded his expectations.
“I like other cultures and things. This has just got such wonderful colour and movement … it’s synchronised. I think it’s terrific.”
Mr. Faulkner felt that our society is being enriched by the Shen Yun performance. The message that came through for him was the importance of freedom.
“We should allow freedom, we should allow expression, we shouldn’t curb any of these things. It’s very important. … Giving people freedom doesn’t mean that you are going to bring your society down. It actually enriches the society.”
Reporting by Julia Ye, Mary Yuan and Margo MacVicar
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006