LONDON—When Shen Yun Performing Arts graced the stage at the London Coliseum on Saturday evening, April 14, an ardent supporter was among the audience.
“I loved it and my family who joined me to watch it loved it, so I think it’s something that will remain in my mind and of course I look forward to next year,” said Kash Akram, managing director of the international Asian Lifestyle magazine. “The same show is never performed the same again. It’s always a new show, so I think that’s what the public wants.”
New York-based Shen Yun every year creates an all-new performance in their mission to revive the 5,000-year-old, divinely inspired Chinese culture, after this culture was nearly decimated by communist rule in China, according to the company’s website. Using classical Chinese dance accompanied by a digital backdrop, colourful, handcrafted costumes, and an orchestra that melds East and West, Shen Yun depicts the diversity and beauty of one of the most ancient cultures in the world.
“I would absolutely recommend this show to everyone,” Mr. Akram said. “I think it’s a great show and I’m a great supporter of Shen Yun.”
In the opening dance, a battle between celestial soldiers and a demon horde in the heavens leads to good winning over evil, explains Shen Yun’s programme book. Yet the contest of good and evil ensues in the human world.
“I think that’s a reflection of day to day life because you have the good and bad in life and I think every day we live our lives and we see good things and we see bad things, and what it’s doing is cementing that information into our minds,” Mr. Akram said. “And the show shows that there is a way of tackling the bad that exists and in a very humane way.”
Mr. Akram talked about how humankind can change, and focused on the word change. “That’s a great word: change. And I think events like Shen Yun help change the world, and that’s what we want to do, that’s what we want to put these seeds of wisdom into the audience’s mind,” he said. “And I think Shen Yun does that.”
Not only surface art is seen in a Shen Yun performance.
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance,” states the company’s website. “But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
“It’s such a great history and it should be celebrated and embraced,” proclaimed Mr. Akram. By seeing programmes and events like Shen Yun, audiences can understand how history reflects and refer the information on to others, he said.
“So what happens is it’s kind of a chain reaction,” explained Mr. Akram, “and it spreads globally.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Zachary Stieber.
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.
For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org