Australian Architect and Writer Finds Inspiration in Shen Yun

May 5, 2012 Updated: May 5, 2012

SYDNEY—When George Stone, a highly regarded architect and town planner, artist, musician and philosopher, came to the Capitol Theatre on Saturday May 5, planning to buy a ticket to the evening performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts, he was offered a ticket for the matinee, and he immediately jumped at the opportunity.

“It was on in 4 minutes, so I thought right, here’s the moment, seize the day!” he said.

Although such a spontaneous decision, Mr. Stone was nevertheless captivated by the display of classical Chinese dance and music by the New York-based performing arts company.

“I’ve just had a lovely afternoon here. The highlights I think were the animation of everyone on stage, the incredible colours of the costumes, [and] the fitness of all the performers,” he said at intermission.

He particularly commended the dancers’ agility and technique.

“The fact that they could spin around in the air and do these sort of slow backward somersaults, where they seem to slow themselves down [in the air]. Just the whole thing was beautifully orchestrated and very refreshing,” he said.

At the heart of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance, an ancient system that is both one of the most comprehensive and one of the hardest to master in the world.

Mr. Stone was also especially impressed by the Shen Yun Orchestra.

“The musicians were just beautiful … that beautiful group of performing people who are so much part of the show,” he said.

Shen Yun’s one-of-a-kind orchestra, with its all-original compositions, blends East and West like no other. The distinctly Chinese sound of ancient instruments like the erhu and the pipa are bathed in a rich sea of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass, according to the Shen Yun website.

Mr. Stone, architect and town planner, has been recognised overseas and within Australia for his commitment to heritage timber design for visitor accommodations, and for rural site planning that respects environmental considerations.

His work as a designer allowed him to fully appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the digital sets used in Shen Yun.

“The scenes in China were just beautiful, that was a lovely thing too. And also the fact that there was animation—there were flags waving in the big scene and snowflakes coming down, just beautifully done,” he said.

Mr. Stone is currently writing a story about a Buddha and philosophy. After watching Shen Yun, he said the show has given him much inspiration for this work.

“I’m writing a sentence at the moment, which is 51,000 words long without a full stop. It’s like a stream of consciousness, and I’m going to add this into my stream of consciousness,” he said.

He pointed out that the show has given a very positive message that “life is worth living” and that one should not let bad things get you down.

Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts was established in 2006 with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture.

Reporting by NTD Television and Sonya Bryskine.

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world, with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre through May 6.

For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org