Sally Knyvette gained fame starring in cult sci-fi series Blake’s Seven, but has also appeared regularly in soap opera Emmerdale. In recent years Ms. Knyvette has focused on directing for the theatre.
She said the dancers from New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company were “superb” and that the costumes they wore were “very subtle and very lovely”.
“I was amazed to think how they could change so quickly and to be coming out and just absolutely effortlessly dancing,” she said.
Through the disciplines of classical Chinese dance and music, Shen Yun Performing Arts seeks to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture, states the company’s website.
Each show includes story-based dances as well as colourful ethnic and folk dances where dancers move in perfectly synchronised patterns.
The show also features tales of courage from modern China, and Ms. Knyvette called one such piece “very powerful”: “I thought the Falun Gong story and how they are being treated in China was very powerful and I’m glad they’re getting some artistic ability to show it to the rest of the world. I think that’s very good,” she said.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is guided by the principles of “Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance,” according to Shen Yun’s website. “It has helped over a hundred million Chinese people understand and return to the essence of traditional Chinese culture,” states the site.
The spirit of compassion and tolerance shown by Falun Gong practitioners “manifest the very essence of China’s 5,000 year-old divine culture”, explains the website. Falun Gong-related dances and lyrics “touch the heart and enlighten the mind.”
Reporting by SOH Radio Network and John Smithies.
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 will perform at The London Coliseum until April 15.
For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org