SYDNEY—Every audience member finds their own way to a Shen Yun Performing Arts seat—even when they’re married.
Ian Cameron, a supply chain manager at a pharmaceutical company, found out about Shen Yun after watching a commercial, while his wife Sylvia, a singer/songwriter, decided to go after seeing an Instagram post of Shen Yun dancers training.
As someone who also participates in gymnastics and acrobatics, Sylvia had a genuine curiosity for the origin of those art forms.
“I was actually thinking that; I wondered whether Chinese dance was where the acrobatics started,” Sylvia said.
She discovered the answer on Wednesday night at Sydney’s Capital Theatre.
“They mentioned in the previous session that that’s where the acrobatics and gymnastics all came from, it was Chinese dance. It’s amazing, Because I do gymnastics and acrobatics, I was excited to see that that came from Chinese culture, that’s very exciting,” said Sylvia, who saw the New York-based company with her husband on March 4, 2020.
Ian also learned that Chinese dance wasn’t just a singular thing, but also involves the various dances from a diverse range of ethnic groups within China.
“It shows that diversity in the different ethnic dances and different regional dances which I wasn’t aware of, so it shows a very diverse culture,” he said.
He added that although there were dance techniques that looked similar across many of the pieces, they were each very unique.
“Each dance has different costumes and a different feel to itself,” he said.
The singer agreed; Sylvia was amazed at the elements of each dance.
“Like the sleeves, the lotus sleeves, ooh! those beautiful long sleeves are amazing, The elements of each dance are pretty special,” she said.
Shen Yun aims to bring the 5,000 years of uninterrupted Chinese history to the stage, with stories and legends from the ancients times to the modern-day.
After Sylvia saw a performance piece that took place in modern-day China, she said she began to feel sorry for the culture.
“They were doing a little bit of that storytelling, even to Falun Dafa. I’ve heard a bit about Falun Dafa as well but that just showed a little bit more of that political unfortunate element.”
Falun Dafa is a spiritual practice rooted in the Buddhist tradition that originated from China. It consists of self-improvement through the study and application of the teachings, yoga-like exercises, and meditation. The practice was introduced in China in 1992 and rapidly spread throughout China because it was a free-to-learn practice that brought about many health benefits.
But since 1999, the Chinese Communist Party has banned the practice and launched a violent persecution of its practitioners. One of the storytelling dances touches on this, in a tale of modern-day faith.
“I feel sorry for the culture that they can’t express, their beliefs and their traditions. I think it put a realism on the story as well. I don’t know, it made me a bit sad,” Sylvia explained.
Her husband felt touched by the whole experience and couldn’t wait to tell all his colleagues.
“I think so far the whole experience is unique and really touching my heart. I’m enjoying the storytelling, the narration helps me understand what I’m seeing, it’s beautiful.”
“I’ll go back to my colleagues tomorrow and tell them what a wonderful experience, and hopefully they can see it before it finishes.”
“Its beautiful energy, its beautiful colors, vibrant, exciting, a different culture—you don’t see this sort of side of a different culture. Sometimes it’s beautiful to see that,” she said.
With reporting by Steve Xu and Alan Cheung.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.