Shen Yun Brings Dean in Education an ‘Inspired Energy’

May 8, 2022

GOLD COAST, Australia—Christopher Klopper, a professor in higher education who recently became the Dean of the Australian College of Applied Professions, said Shen Yun Performing Arts has given him an “inspired energy.”

“I’m overwhelmed at how vibrant the colors and the sounds are together,” Mr. Klopper said after seeing New York-based Shen Yun perform at the HOTA Home of the Arts in Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast on May 7.

“I have walked away with a sense of energy—inspired energy—that both music, that dance visual spectacular, bring together.”

The performance brings a “sense of calm and ease, leaving the maddening world outside,” he said. He described the Shen Yun experience as one where “you come into the sanctuary that really does transform you into that sense of calm and mystery like no other.”

Since 2006, Shen Yun artists have sought to revive China’s traditional culture that flourished for 5,000 years before being almost destroyed under decades of communist rule. Shen Yun’s motto for 2022 is “China before Communism.”

Seeing Shen Yun was “a great opportunity and exposure to music and dance of another culture,” Mr. Klopper said. He has a background in music, having graduated from university with honors in music and musicology. He called the Shen Yun orchestra “amazing” and “incredible.”

“It creates the Eastern sound, the genre, the timbre, yet it’s drawing on Western instruments to do so. So it gives you that variant of classical orchestral sound, but presented in a traditional Eastern genre and timbre, which is excellent,” he commented.

What makes the Shen Yun orchestra unique is the combination of soul-stirring, distinct sounds of Chinese instruments with the harmony and grandeur of a Western symphony, championing what the company calls a “new frontier in classical music.”

Mr. Klopper was impressed by a performance by the soprano singer. “Such incredible volume and range of notes,” he said. “She was outstanding. Her top notes with such clarity was just an outstanding performance.”

Shen Yun’s singers use a traditional, classical singing technique known as bel canto, which is believed to produce the most beautiful and pure tone of voice. According to the company, the true bel canto technique for singing in the upper register has been lost but is being brought back to the modern stage by Shen Yun artists.

But Shen Yun is “not just a musical extravaganza,” Mr. Klopper noted. “It’s musical, it’s visual, it is spiritual, and it transports you through a time of cultural traditions and activities like you cannot prepare yourself for.”

He commented on the overall experience as a seamless whole. “Often we in Western culture—music is one thing dance is another—but in some of our traditional cultures, music and dance just cannot be separated. And what we see in Shen Yun is exactly that. You can’t have one without the other,” he said.

‘So Perfect’: Ballroom Dance Teacher

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Ballroom dance teachers Nathan Strange (R) and Judy Ivey (L) saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at the HOTA Home of the Arts in Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast, Australia, on May 7, 2022. (Mary Yuan/The Epoch Times)

Nathan Strange and Judy Ivey, friends and ballroom dance teachers at Mark Wilson Ballroom Dance centre, applauded the Shen Yun dancers’ performance.

“It was so great to see all the dancers. They’re so fantastic. They look exactly the same. They’re so tall and skinny. And so perfect with every dance move they do … 100 percent. Perfect. Perfect. Couldn’t be better.” Mr. Strange said on May 7.

“They’re so fit—the girls are so athletic and strong and beautiful. And their lines—they finished every line,” he added.

Ms. Ivey commented of the dancers, “So nimble … Very athletic. Takes a lot of practice.”

Shen Yun’s hallmark is classical Chinese dance, which contains deep cultural traditions that allow the movements to be incredibly expressive. Dancers can express the personalities and feelings of characters with “unparalleled clarity” and depict scenes from any time period of China’s history in a vivid way, the company states.

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Andrew Anderson saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at the HOTA Home of the Arts in Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast, Australia, on May 7, 2022. (Steve Xu/The Epoch Times)

Business owner Andrew Anderson said he was “surprised how easily it was to follow the stories” portrayed in the performance. He added he would “100 percent” recommend the performance to a friend.

Shen Yun’s story-based dances present legends and bygone heroes who embody the virtues core to Chinese civilization, including the five cardinal virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faithfulness.

Chinese history has been documented and passed down for 5,000 years, sometimes in vivid detail, giving Shen Yun ample source material to revive the ancient culture on the modern stage, according to the company.

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Kate Davis (R) and Ray Ferguson (L) saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at the HOTA Home of the Arts in Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s Gold Coast, Australia, on May 7, 2022. (Rebecca Zhu/The Epoch Times)

Kate Davis, a financial controller and lawyer, said she resonated with Shen Yun’s effort to revive the Chinese culture that had been ravaged by communism.

“Communist China has suppressed the Chinese culture and the Chinese culture has been there for such a long time, and you have a regime that comes through and almost dismisses the culture … I particularly resonated with that … because there are people in the world that are trying to keep the Chinese culture alive through dance and music, and it’s just beautiful,” she said of Shen Yun.

“We are only here because of what happened before, where we only exist because of what we were before,” Ms. Davis said. “So to disregard that, and to wipe it out, and to not even acknowledge, that it existed is completely wrong, because you will lose your values.

“So with this [performance], Chinese values are there, and they’re in the music and the dance and the stories and I think you’ve got to maintain it,” she added.

Reporting by NTD, Mary Yuan, Steve Xu, Rebecca Zhu, and Gabrielle Stephenson.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.