Civil engineer Mike Grant was highly entertained and fascinated. Coming from a construction background he appreciated the precision of the dancers, saying they were “fantastic, really well choreographed,” and had “amazing” timing.
For Natasha Grant, it was a memorable birthday treat: “an excellent day,” she said. She thought the costumes were “brilliant”. “I really enjoyed the women with the very long sleeves,” she said, referring to the dance Sleeves of Silk described in the Shen Yun programme book as “acting as extensions of a dancer’s arms. The effect is akin to fluttering wings or trailing ripples.”
Mrs. Grant’s parents, Michael and Gaby Bray, accompanied the couple. Mrs. Bray was also impressed with the “modesty” of the costumes, and remarked on how well they complemented the themes of the dances.
Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colours, displaying a splendid spectacle, according to Shen Yun’s website.
Shen Yun uses the form of classical Chinese dance to express traditional Chinese culture. A complete system existing for thousands of years, it incorporates challenging flips and tumbles.
Steve Osmond, a cost engineer in the oil and gas industry, was in awe of the mastery of the dancers. “Not only the technical ability but the physical ability is unbelievable to see,” he said. “The strength to hold those moves is unbelievable.”
His wife Jo particularly enjoyed the dance Qing Imperial Guards, finding the sound of the fans the male dancers use “very unusual”. The programme explains that the imperial guards “wield fans as weapons, embodying a spirit of strength, dignity, and refinement.”
When he worked in Asia, Mr. Osmond had been introduced to Chinese instruments and was excited that his wife now also had the opportunity to experience the unique Shen Yun Performing Arts Orchestra. He particularly liked the two-stringed erhu which, according the company’s website, has “a history of over 4,000 years and can convey a wide range of emotions”.
Reporting by Valentin Schmid and Rosemary Byfield
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 International Company is performing at the London Coliseum until April 15.
For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org