LONDON—Geeta Sidhu had no shortage of adjectives to describe Shen Yun Performing Arts after the show on opening night.
“Stunning, interesting, mesmerizing, beautiful and intelligent,” she praised.
Ms. Sidhu, a former corporate lawyer turned successful entrepreneur, attended the April 5 performance at The London Coliseum with husband Hannes Wittig, the Managing Director for Equity Research at JP Morgan Chase.
“I enjoyed the pure aesthetic quality of the show very much. I thought the dancers were very beautiful, and enchanting. It took me away from the daily experience into a different world,” said Mr. Wittig.
New York-based Shen Yun is currently performing seven shows in London, as part of its 2011 World Tour. The mission of the company is to revive the long-lost traditions and art forms of pre-communist China, a divine culture that has been virtually destroyed under the current regime.
Ms. Sidhu was named Exceptional Working Mother at the Mothers at Work awards in a 2008 ceremony at 11 Downing Street, for her success in overcoming adversity to start an organic food business inspired by her child's food allergies. She said Shen Yun was a very entertaining learning experience for both young and old.
“It was really interesting and it was a really good introduction into the background of China. My children came, [they were] looking at the people and the music—and it makes it colourful, it makes it come alive.”
Mr. Wittig was inspired to research more about Chinese culture after the show, particularly to learn about the lack of freedom of expression and belief Chinese people are experiencing today. In some of the dances, this yearning for freedom is played out on stage through true-to-life dances.
“In that sense it’s also had educational aspect,” he said. “I felt it was interesting to think about the issues that were raised during the show.”
“It’s intelligent, there’s a story, there’s a point, there’s an idea, that makes it intelligent. It’s not just visual,” Ms. Sidhu added.
Shen Yun features many story-based dances from China's legendary 5,000-year civilization. The stories express the values of the traditional culture, such as virtue, respect, and compassion. The couple appreciated the skill of the dancers and the depth of their expression.
“The colours were amazing, the precision of the dancers. It is really interesting that there is a message behind it,” Ms. Sidhu said. “They told a story in the dance and that makes it so much more than just a dance—it makes it better.”
“I loved the sheer quality of the performance. The precision, the level of co-ordination, was extraordinary,” Mr. Wittig added. “There was a good mix of just purely enjoyable items and thought-provoking pieces.”
Reporting by Chin Liang and Justina Wheale.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will be at The London Coliseum from April 5–10. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org