SYDNEY—This year, the Hon. Fred Nile MLC returned once again to see Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company, the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company at the Capitol Theatre Feb. 14.
“I thought it was wonderful. I’ve enjoyed it every year, it gets better every year. Beautiful dancers,” Reverend Nile said.
Based in New York, Shen Yun formed in 2006 with a mission to revive China’s true culture through the universal language of music and dance, according to its company website.
Mr. Nile says he was happy he could attend the closing performance in Sydney with his wife Silvana Nero. He has been a member of New South Wales [NSW] Parliament since 1981 and announced his decision to accept the Christian Democratic Party [CDP] nomination for the NSW Legislative Council for the NSW State elections on March 28.
Ms. Nero, who has been teaching for 30 years, is also seeking election for the CDP seat of Wakehurst on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
She was thankful that Shen Yun brought traditional Chinese culture to Australia. “I really appreciate it because there’s nothing else in Australia that gives us that. We couldn’t even see this in China.”
She said she felt she could relate to the compassion and tolerance depicted by Shen Yun’s dances and the depictions of ethnic cultures from across China, the re-enactments of bygone myths and legends, and the modern stories. She said the costumes were exquisite and the Shen Yun orchestra, which combines classical Chinese and Western instruments, Shen Yun’s performance was a blessing to hear.
“To see Chinese history and the arts, coming through the centuries and being able to bring those traditions to our time that they haven’t been lost, is a gift to us,” Ms. Nero said.
‘A tapestry of culture shown in one night’
Network marketers Nigel Herford and his wife Katie also appreciated the performance Shen Yun gave that evening.
Mr. Herford said he felt “a lot of appreciation for the amount of work, thought and intention that had gone behind it all,” he said.
“And the stories that have been told through movement, music, colour and a real tapestry of information that came through.”
One of those stories, Monkey King and the Skeleton Demon, reminded him of when as a young boy he liked to watch ‘Magic Monkey’ on television.
Adapted from the classic novel, Journey to the West, the Monkey King tale is based on the true story of a Tang Dynasty monk who embarks on a quest for Buddhist scriptures. In the book, he is protected by three disciples: the golden Monkey King, lazy Pigsy, and river ogre Sandy. Their journey is fraught with danger, as demons keep trying to eat the monk, believing his flesh grants immortality, says the program book.
Mr. Herford understood a deeper meaning behind the story.
“I guess the most prominent one was the connection between mind, body and spirit and the divinity of that—that we all possess,” he said.
According to the website, China was once known as Shen Zhou—The Divine Land. This profound name describes a land where deities and mortals coexisted, and a belief that the divine transmitted a rich culture to the people of the earth.
“For thousands of years, Buddhist, Taoist, and other disciplines were at the heart of society. Calligraphy, music, medicine, attire, and much more were said to have been passed down from the heavens.”
“We got a real taste of it tonight, … it’s an interesting culture to understand, and enriches our lives a little bit more.”
Ms. Herford didn’t know what to expect when she took her seat.
“I kept saying ‘wow.’ I didn’t come with any expectations. I just came to learn something about the Chinese culture. Just the colours and costumes, and the elegance of the women and the music that went with it, I was really blown away. It was progressive and awesome.”
She said she really liked Phoenixes of the Sapphire Paradise because of the radiant colours and graceful movements.
“The girls really looked like birds and were graceful and the smokiness of the stage as well, that was gorgeous. And how they started in one position and ended up in the opposite way that they came out, the choreography!”
For her, Shen Yun’s performance was “elegant, masculine, vibrant, peaceful and sensual.”
Mr. Herford said, “a rich tapestry of culture shown in one evening.”
Reporting by NTD Television, Rona Rui and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
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