SYDNEY—”I could watch it forever,” said Joan Miller after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts perform at the Capitol Theatre for the first time on Feb. 7.
Ms. Miller and her husband Ken Miller are the principals of the dancing school, Kogarah Ballroom, which specialises in ballroom, Latin and new vogue dance. The Millers have been teaching dance for 40 years and have won many titles together in their competitive career.
Ms. Miller was very impressed with the choreography and the dancer’s techniques. “The ability to go from different positions, lines to circles. It was just immaculately presented,” she said.
The couple had brought 11 of their pupils with them to see the performance.
“I encouraged some of my pupils to come along so that they can see how the dancers express what they’re creating, not only through their body, but also through their arms,” Ms. Miller explained. “It’s just wonderful to see.”
According to the Shen Yun website, “Classical Chinese dance is rich with expressive power. Through expression of bearing and form, beautiful dance movements bring out the inner meaning of intrinsic thoughts and feelings, reflecting the peculiarities of human nature, the standard of human conduct, moral concepts, mental state and one’s value system, and so on.”
Ms Miller said that she had been inspired to come after seeing a Shen Yun advertisement and was pleased with her decision.
“I was very excited to see it. As a dance teacher, I enjoy watching the creativity of what they do. The precision, the effort that they put in – the synchronisation, the colour, the choreography – it’s all there. Total package, very professionally put together, very impressed,” she said.
Mr. Miller said he was also impressed, particularly with the choreography. “Whoever is doing the choreographing is very, very good. We’ve had a lot to do with that over the years, so I can enjoy that.”
“You are transported to a different place”
Rosemary Aung Thein and her husband, Reginald Aung Thein were also “very impressed” after seeing the performance.
“It’s amazing. I loved the dancers. I’m a dancer so I loved the whole unity of it and you are transported into a different place,” Mrs Aung Thein said.
Mrs. Aung Thein is a mother of 4 and does classical Burmese dancing plus Latin and modern jazz dance as a hobby. She said she had seen something unique about the dancing in the performance.
“I think it is professionalism and the fact that the dancers themselves look like they are loving their job, that they are enjoying it, and it comes through when they perform.”
She said she was most impressed when the dancers used long sleeves in the piece, Sleeves of Grace.
“We [Burmese] dance with a long train and we kick and we don’t step on it and we dance. [The train is like] the skirt. It is about 2 metres long and you dance with the train. This is the opposite with the sleeves,” she explained and added, “Interesting, I’ve never seen it before.”
Mr. Aung Thein, a chartered accountant, said he was happy after watching the performance.
“I’m just amazed by the brightness of the dress, the costume and I guess it brings joy and happiness.”
An important component of classical Chinese dance is its attention to a dancer’s inner spirit and his or her ability to convey deep emotional expressions.
“Like my wife said, it is good to see the dancers looking happy doing what they do. As for the culture, you can see some are different, ethnic .. but you can see the happiness and the joyfulness. Some are more serious, but they are all very happy.”
“A feast of colour”
Lisa Rourke and her daughter, Rhianna said they had “really enjoyed” the performance.
Ms. Rourke thought it would be a nice surprise to take her daughter, a high school student and a ballet dancer, to the performance.
“It was flawless. It was really seamless. It was a really interesting night,” Ms. Rourke said.
Ms. Rourke felt the performance was trying to show the roots of Chinese culture, “where it came from,” while illustrating the limits of what can be explored in communist China today.
“Making I suppose a point about what can and cannot be done in China now and [that] this sort of thing has to be done outside of China.”
Her daughter, Rhianna, was attracted to the scarves and dresses of the dancers. She said she would like to try classical Chinese dance and to wear a scarf while dancing.
Ms. Rourke also expressed her admiration for the costumes. “[S]pectacular costumes. A feast of colour.”
“I think the costumes just make it all flow into one.”
Reporting by Di Shi and Janita Kan
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006