“I encourage everybody to come and experience Shen Yun,” he said at intermission on March 14, 2020, at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre.
According to the Centre for Independent Studies, a think tank at which Babones is an adjunct professor, his academic research has a particular focus on China, and he has written op-eds for multiple media publications, including the Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Australian Financial Review. He also writes regularly for Quadrant, Spectator Australia, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and The National Interest.
Babones observed of Shen Yun that “the entire show is suffused with spirituality.”
“I very much appreciate the fact that people deeply believe in what they’re doing,” he said, adding that the dancers “are people who really believe in the mission that they are accomplishing tonight.”
New York-based Shen Yun has a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture and sets off every year around the globe with an all-new performance. The hallmark of every Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance—a deeply expressive dance form dating back thousands of years.
“We really love the acrobatics,” Babones said of the dances.
The New York-based company writes on its website that the difficult jumping and tumbling techniques, as depicted in some of the Shen Yun dances, all originate from classical Chinese dance. Such moves were later introduced to gymnastics and acrobatics over the recent decades.
“It has been a magical experience so far, I am really looking forward to the second half,” Babones said.
‘It Was So Relaxing’
Couple Mike Burke and Chicquita Burke also attended the same evening performance at the Capitol Theatre.
“I learned a lot about China tonight through [the] dancing,” Chicquita, a belly dancer, said after the show.
“The staging was good, always active, and the whole thing was just brilliant,” she said. “The changing [of] costumes were so quick.”
“The costumes were so vibrant and colorful, and it makes me happy,” Chicquita said. “China is full of color. It’s representing China very, very well.”
She also resonated with the music of the solo erhu virtuoso.
“The solo instrument was brilliant,” she said. When she was listening to the music, she felt “emotion, beauty,” she said. “I nearly cried.”
The company’s website says: “The erhu is one of the most important Chinese instruments, with a history of over 4,000 years. Though it has only two strings, it can convey a wide range of emotions.”
Chicquita said that she took away from Shen Yun a message of peace, and that “you have to be happy and respect nature and people.”
Mike chimed in, “it was so relaxing as well.”
“You can be stressed, and [the performance] just brings you down and you just relax and [feel] at peace with yourself,” he later added. “The whole show just made you feel relaxed.”
Mike, who is a semi-retired ship captain and takes a keen interest in the boating world, commented on how captivating the dance pieces were.
“I found that this is one of the few shows I’ve been to where you’re watching, and you watch and you watch and you’re looking for more as you’re watching it,” he said. “It actually holds you as an audience and total participation goes into watching … there’s not a chance you could become bored with it. It’s fascinating and enchanting.”
Mike shared that one value he saw in Shen Yun is that it teaches people to “be at peace for themselves and not argue.”
“Everyone should be able to get on with each other, just be at peace, just be kind,” he said.
With reporting by NTD Television, Rona Rui, and Mimi Nguyen Ly.