MILAN, Italy—Shen Yun Performing Arts took an appreciative audience on a journey through China’s 5,000-year history during its inaugural performance at Milan’s Teatro Degli Arcimboldi, on April 26.
Former ballet dancer Elise Calvi, who now runs a dance school, praised the technicality of the dance performances and said she was interested to learn about classical Chinese dance, particularly because she could see elements of martial arts in it.
Classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form, is known to have incredible flips and spins, while maintaining gentle elegance, and is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world, according to Shen Yun’s website.
Ms. Calvi said she enjoyed the variety in the performance and how the show was put together, “from the different pure costumes and the gentleness they carried” to the more physical and lively pieces, she said.
“I think the way they did everything together, the choreography plus the video and everything … that’s probably a genius solution for sets because you can have an immediate background without having to [take] that everywhere you go.”
According to the Shen Yun website: “With state-of-the-art graphics technology, Shen Yun’s digital-backdrop team creates vividly animated settings, extending the stage and transporting the audience to a world where heaven and earth are one.
“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.”
For Ms. Calvi’s husband, Oscar, a CPA who used to play conservatory piano, the performance was full of wonderful surprises. “I liked it a lot,” Mr. Calvi said.
The use of the animated backdrops was a wonderful idea, he added. “It gives you two different worlds—the other world comes to this one. I really like the idea.”
Going back to his musician roots, Mr. Calvi said he highly enjoyed Shen Yun’s music, performed by Shen Yun’s unique orchestra, which combines classical Chinese instruments with Western instruments.
He also praised the performance of the solo vocalists, who use the bel canto technique to sing Chinese lyrics. The vocalists’ performance with just the piano “creates a bit more intimate time,” he said.
Reflecting on some of the themes in the performance, the two said they liked seeing issues in modern day China performed on stage, referring to one of the pieces that shows a mother and daughter facing persecution in China for their belief in Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation practice.
“That was really touching when they danced it,” Mr. Calvi said.
“I’d be also interested in seeing more of that, like sort of a social statement,” Ms. Calvi added.
With reporting by Florian Godovits
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.