BRUSSELS—Curiosity drew Gillaume Pinet, a graphic designer, to see the world’s premier company of classical Chinese dance, Shen Yun Performing Arts, at the National Theatre, April 4.
“I was surprised in a positive way, actually,” Mr. Pinet said. “There are many colors. The costumes are fabulous I find—the colors … wow!”
“Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle—from the Tang Dynasty’s “Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers” to imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, and cloud capes; from the civil official’s headdress and robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor; and from the traditional rightward cross-collared Han clothing to the ethnic attire of the Manchurian, Tibetan, Dai, Mongol, and Uyghur ethnic groups,” the company website says.
“And also, it’s very interesting to see the arrangement of the scenes with the vast country landscapes and the interaction at certain times between the video background and the dancers. So it’s pretty surprising,” Mr. Pinet said.
“Inspired by 5,000 years of history, these spectacular landscapes truly reflect China’s multifaceted geography, society, regions, and dynasties. Some scenes even transcend this world, entering a heavenly palace where fairies dance amidst mystical clouds or peering into the solemn majesty of a Buddhist paradise,” the website continues.
“These digital backdrop designs complement and synchronize all aspects of the performance: the characters, color of the costumes, specific dance movements, props, lighting, the story being told, particular notes played by the orchestra, and special audio effects.
“The backdrops are as grand as they are intricate. So remarkably true to life, they allow you to forget where you are, and journey to another place and time.”
“Frankly speaking, it’s almost like leading the present day,” the graphic artist said. “Yes, it’s this aspect of revisiting history through the different dances, the different parts of China. I found this very interesting, and really very, very good.”
At the heart of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance composed of three main parts: bearing, form, and technical skill, says the website. “Other than complete training in the fundamentals, it also entails systematic training in movements and postures, as well as very difficult jumping and tumbling techniques. And so, alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world.”
“And everything that is dance on the level of grace and on the level of beauty—that stays [in one’s mind], this Chinese impression of Oriental expression. And it’s very, very interesting.”
Mr. Pinet is a graphic artist for a fashion agency, magazines, program books, invitations, and “things like these.”
The Shen Yun production showcasing 5,000-years of Chinese history portraying truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, embodied both “humanistic and spiritual” traits, Mr. Pinet said.
“It’s also very lively, there’s a lot of life in the show. This is what is important.”
He said Shen Yun remained “very open” to encounters in life. “For example: the joys of life, the cheerfulness of the New Year celebration and happiness of everyday life.”
But beyond all else, the colors radiating from the stage in every performance, rendered it “fascinating,” Mr. Pinet said.
“It’s very radiant. I didn’t expect to see this, so I’m extremely surprised, surprised in a positive way.”
Also, a stand-out feature for him was the classical Chinese and ethnic folk dances. “The grace that one can find enveloped in the dance, it’s really, really very beautiful. It’s a great show,” Mr. Pinet concluded.
Reporting by Mary Mann and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.