FRANKFURT—Mr. Jurgen Blume, professor of music theory, attended the Saturday matinee performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt am Main on March 31.
“Very good! I was fascinated, especially as there were so many different scenes,” Mr. Blume said.
New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Formed in 2006, the company consists of the world’s top overseas Chinese performing artists, who seek to revive traditional Chinese culture and art forms.
“Every year, Shen Yun unveils an entirely new lineup of dances, songs, and musical scores. At the core of Shen Yun’s performances is classical Chinese dance with China’s numerous ethnic and folk dance styles rounding out the evening,” states the company’s website.
“I must say that the dances were most fascinating,” Mr. Blume said.
“The colors of the costumes were outstanding. Everything is in my mind, including the backdrop and how the people stepped out of the backdrop and appeared on the stage.
“Everything harmonized with the music. And then, what a marvelous idea, combining Western and Eastern instruments; instruments used in symphonies and those used for traditional Chinese music. Absolutely outstanding,” the professor of music said.
Shen Yun’s one-of-a-kind orchestra, with its all-original compositions, blends East and West like no other, the company says. The distinctly Chinese sound of ancient instruments like the erhu and the pipa are bathed in a rich sea of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass. The result—two great classical music traditions producing one fresh, unexpected sound.
“The music itself is so different from Western music and yet, so fascinating. Also, it is a music that pleases the ear, very harmonic. At times there is a meditative sound and then very fresh and airy,” he added.
An integral part of a Shen Yun performance is its animated digital backdrops that can transport the audience to another world, says the company’s website. “Projected behind the dancers, the hi-tech images lift the stage and set it amidst blossoming landscapes, deep forests, Mongolian prairies, or celestial paradises.”
“Then, the choreography, the way everything was displayed on stage, especially the backdrop, how imaginative. I still can clearly see the figures on the backdrop, coming forwards from great distance and then suddenly appear on stage. I have never seen something like this. It was marvelous.”
Traditional Chinese culture was all but destroyed after 60 years of communist party rule and the Cultural Revolution in China and Shen Yun is not able to tour to the mainland under the present regime.
“What touched me the most was that this show cannot be performed in China. But, I hold the hope that belief in goodness will prevail and this show can be seen in China without the performers having to fear arrest.”
Reporting by Yu Ping and Nancy McDonnell.
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. Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will next perform at The London Coliseum, April 12-15.
For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org