SYDNEY—Theatregoers expressed awe and wonder at Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company’s matinee performance on Feb. 7 at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre.
Christina Demos treated her friend’s daughter, tickets to Shen Yun, a Christmas present. She said Shen Yun brought “beauty, compassion and strength” to the stage.
Ms. Demos, a retired teacher of tourism and hospitality, noticed that Chinese students over the years were not interested in the traditional Chinese culture, she found this strange but thought it might be due political situation in China today where traditional culture has been destroyed under the communist rule.
But “there’s always been a great deal of beauty in the [Chinese] history and culture,” she said, and she felt that Shen Yun brought forth its beauty.
“The harmony of the dancing, the music, the expression. It’s uplifting, very uplifting,” she said.
“Traditional values come across in compassion, compassion, beauty, compassion, strength, those sort of things come through.”
The Shen Yun website explains: “For thousands of years, China was known as the Divine land. Its rich culture, said to be a gift from the heavens, valued virtue, integrity, compassion, and tolerance.”
‘The performance was mind-blowing’
Drawn by the beauty, truck driver Ken Newman travelled from Wollongong, fighting the Sydney traffic to enjoy Shen Yun.
“The performance was mind-blowing,” he said. “Everyone should see it as far as I’m concerned.”
Established in 2006, New York-based Shen Yun revives 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through the performing arts.
“You didn’t know where to look, because it was action. It was colour, movement, and you were never bored with it,” said Mr. Newman.
Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning digital animated backdrop, where mortals and divine beings merged on stage as one, were just some features Mr. Newman found mind-blowing.
He found he was overwhelmed by Shen Yun’s production. “It’s so emotional because you really feel like you’re travelling through the culture, and through the history of China,” he said.
“I walk away now feeling exhilarated.”
Birthday Present: Shen Yun ‘Incredible’
Kathy Pongrac enjoyed Shen Yun with her sister Elizabeth Sestic, who received tickets to the performance as a birthday present. Ms. Pongrac, who lived in a former communist country, appreciated Shen Yun’s expression of spirituality.
She said she felt it was very important that the Chinese people become free. “The most impressive thing to me of the lot is that the spiritual life of Chinese people is promoted,” she said.
“The old stories, the songs and the divine of people, the spirit of the people, that comes through very strongly.”
Ms. Sestic thoroughly enjoyed the orchestra, she said it was “perfect” and “serene.”
Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique. “A Western philharmonic orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies,” says the Shen Yun website. The Chinese instruments used in Shen Yun performances include the erhu, pipa and suona.
Ms. Pongrac said, “It’s definitely beautiful – the costumes, the scenery, the background scenery is just gorgeous, absolutely beautiful. And just learning about the different regions and the different dances, and different parts of China, it was very, very good to see.”
‘Telling a story without saying any words’
“Telling a story without saying any words, I thought that was brilliant,” Ms. Carole Dalrymple said after seeing Shen Yun for the first time.
Shen Yun’s dance style is built upon classical Chinese dance as a foundation. It has thousands of years of history and, alongside ballet, is one of the most expressive art forms in the world.
She felt a theme emerging from the performances. “I believe that good always overcomes, and if good people don’t do anything, evil prevails. We have to fight for it, we can’t just sit back. That was the message that I got,” she said.
“I learnt about how they speak about love between each other, and how if the world was like that, it would be a better place,” she said.
“I was inspired by everything.”
Ms. Dalrymple hopes Shen Yun will go to China to perform eventually.
Shen Yun currently performs in more than 100 cities in more than 20 countries across 5 continents — except China.
Reporting by NTD Television and Mimi Nguyen Ly
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006