SYDNEY—Fresh from New Zealand, Shen Yun Performing Arts struck the hearts and minds of its audience at the Sydney Theatre on April 16.
Lee Fannane was amidst the crowd celebrating her 65th birthday, a surprise gift from her daughter. She runs tourism cottages in Blaxland and had travelled nearly two hours from the region without knowing what she was coming to see.
“Oh, I was just blown away–it’s absolutely fantastic! I thought this just before they started.”
With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Fannane tried her best to describe what she saw.
“I can’t–the costumes–the last dance with the chopsticks, Mongolian Chopsticks just loved the whole lot. It … makes me teary, they’re so clever.”
The New York-based company’s website explains, “Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance. But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
Mrs. Fannane said, “I think China is fascinating … and it’s authentically Chinese heritage, and I’m just finding the whole show really quite overwhelming.”
She even shed tears for the people that arrived late, because she thought they had missed the “spectacular opening,” [Grand Descent of the Deities.
She said the show “was the most beautiful” she had ever seen. “I think it’s the enthusiasm. I can see their facial expressions, it is quite overwhelming–the costumes, the set, everything, it’s just much more than I expected.”
She thought the music was wonderful. “As I said it was very overwhelming, it’s not even something I can describe.”
According to the program book, “The Shen Yun Orchestra blends two of the world’s greatest musical traditions, Chinese and Western. Ancient instruments like the two-stringed erhu, the plucked pipa, and a range of Chinese percussion instruments lead the melody on top of a full Western orchestra—strings, woodwinds, and brass—creating a refreshing, new sound.”
Mrs. Fannane particularly enjoyed the story dance ‘Ne Zha Churns the Sea’.
“I think it‘s directed at the oppression of communist China, so the beauty, that’s there–but the dragon is still ruling.”
‘The children would love it’
Primary schoolteacher Narelle Mallett was also in the audience, loving every minute.
“It’s beautiful, colorful, just fantastic,” Ms. Mallett said. She also appreciated the male dancers’ performance of the story dance ‘Mongolian Chopsticks’.
“Just brilliant, I haven’t seen anything like it before. The energy and the colour and its distinctive style; it is very different especially the … dancers, fantastic. We loved the chopsticks, we’ve never seen any think like it before and, yes, wonderful.”
She said she felt rather sad that Shen Yun cannot be performed in China.
“I know that the Chinese lady sitting next to me during the performance started crying when they were talking about the persecution [of Falun Gong]. That dance was very emotive, very strong feelings came from that, so it made you want to cry.”
Ms. Mallett said she thought the energy emitted by the performers brought out strong emotions in the audience.
“I think their energy and they have emotion on their faces and it comes through really, really strong. The music is fantastic as well. The orchestra builds it up and it just makes it really, really resonate in people’s minds and hearts.”
She admired the costumes and the different dances from all around China’s vast region.
“The Yellow River dance was amazing because it showed that uniqueness, and the energy was fabulous. Also the music having both the Western and the Chinese instruments together really made it special.
“It was able to build up the story with the music and to hear the brass instruments–really powerful then to have the Chinese instruments, a really sort of happy flavor, a bit of cuteness. The comedy was great too. We all laughed, it was very funny, it was magical.”
She thought others would benefit from seeing a Shen Yun performance. “I think it would make them actually smarter; it would really open their eyes. They would be fascinated.”
Ms. Mallett also thought it would be wonderful to provide more school excursions to see Shen Yun.
“The children would love it; it would really open their minds in a very powerful way. After the performance, the kids upstairs were banging on the bands upstairs, so they must have already accepted that influence and went with it. It had a great impact”
She said she would definitely recommend Shen Yun. “I think it’s ‘magical’ is the word I would use, really, really powerful and beautiful and the dancers are fantastic. It’s got everything.”
In appreciation, Ms. Mallett thanked Shen Yun for spreading the true, authentic Chinese culture.
“Keep up the great work it’s fantastic. You’re spreading your culture around and it was fabulous. Thank you very much.”
Reporting by NTD Television 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.