PERTH, Australia—“I’ll get the tickets,” said engineering director Steve Tattersall to his wife Stephanie who was wanting to go to a dance performance. But it wasn’t until later that he realised he had bought tickets to Shen Yun Performing Arts by mistake as there was another dance performance on at the same time. But he declared, “It was a good mistake.”
And his wife emphatically agreed. “It’s really good; we haven’t seen anything like it before. It’s so very interesting.”
Mr. Tattersall is a director of engineering for an international ‘Fortune 500’ company that services the oil and gas industry around the world. And he and his wife had just witnessed the New York based dance company, Shen Yun Performing Arts, present 5000 years of Chinese civilization on the stage at Perth’s Regal Theatre.
Mrs. Tattersall spoke about the Ladies of the Tang with the girls’ golden skirts and wide, sweeping sleeves … exemplifying the spirit of China’s mightiest dynasty—the Tang Dynasty (618–907 C.E.).
“It’s amazing! The colours and the dancers are just incredible; they’ve got such control. The girls with the long sleeves, and how they just let them go … And they’re all so young! We noticed that the orchestra, as they came in, are very young as well.”
Shen Yun portrays traditional culture and values with music and dance through mini-dramas of ancient myths and legends and present day stories. Mr. Tattersall said he didn’t think the communist regime in China would approve of this performance.
And as the Shen Yun website says, “China was once known as the Divine Land, its glorious culture said to have been brought down from the heavens. But under the last 60 years of atheist communist rule, this divinely inspired culture has been almost completely destroyed. That is why you cannot see a performance like Shen Yun in China today.”
Mrs. Tattersall was fascinated with all the stories, myths and legends portrayed on stage. “It’s showing the culture of the Chinese. I know nothing about China so it’s very interesting,” she said.
The website explains, “Dance is one part of human culture. Classical Chinese dance is grounded in 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture, and is a dance art form built upon a deep foundation of traditional aesthetics.” says the website. “Shen Yun’s mini-drama pieces draw upon stories and legends that span China’s history from the Yellow Emperor and through the Tang and Song dynasties and all the way to the modern day.”
Mr. Tattersall felt that these stories told as much about the nature of all human beings as they did about the history of Chinese traditional culture. He said, “It’s also subtle for the dancers to tell to the people, from a purist point of view, that this is how you should live your life. It’s great stuff.”
The couple had seats close enough to the orchestra for Mr. Tattersall to be able to almost touch the conductor’s head. “Their own orchestra as well. It’s very good.”
“The Shen Yun Orchestra blends two of the world’s greatest musical traditions, Chinese and Western. Ancient instruments like the two-stringed erhu, the plucked pipa, and a range of Chinese percussion instruments lead the melody on top of a full Western orchestra,” says the website.
One of the dances that intrigued Mrs. Tattersall was Manchurian Grace where the girls were dancing in their ‘flower pot’ shoes dressed as Manchurian princesses in the ‘court of the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911 C.E.) their every step the impeccable embodiment of grace’.
“At first I thought it (the ‘flower pot’) was at the ball of their foot which would’ve been okay, but it’s right in the middle of the foot!” And her husband said, “a lot of training for that.”
She was really impressed by “the colour, and the spectacle,” while Mr. Tattersall found the costumes quite remarkable. “The different outfits, you know, all the outfits are fabulous.”
He added, “I just like the grace of the girls, to be honest.”
And they both agreed that it was the different characteristics that were portrayed by the male and female dancers that really impressed them both.
“It’s the contrast between the grace of the girls and the strength of the men,” Mrs. Tattersall said.
Reporting by Mary Yuan and Philippa Rayment
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006