CANBERRA, Australia—Months of anticipation on the part of thousands of Canberra theatregoers reached its apogee tonight, when the classical Chinese dance company Shen Yun Performing Arts took the stage at the Canberra Theatre May 21.
It was the third time New York-based Shen Yun has come to Canberra, the first time with a live orchestra.
”Fantastic, the colours are brilliant, and just the agility of the performers,” said Debbie Taber, who is in finance, and an audience member on the opening night.
“It's wonderful, it's just absolutely uplifting,” said her mum Jackie Spicer, a retired nurse.
“Yes, very motivating and uplifting," agreed Ms. Taber. "Just the movement and the happiness in the performers," she added.
As Canberra is the capital city of Australia, there were many foreign diplomats at the opening night including Ambassadors from as far as Egypt and the Vatican. There were also musicians, artists, public servants and, of course, government officials.
Several local politicians had already sent letters of support and appreciation, welcoming the performing arts company to Canberra.
Alistair Coe, who is the youngest elected representative in the Australian Capital Territory and whose government duties keep him extremely busy (being Shadow Minister for Urban Services, Transport Services, Housing, Heritage, and Youth), said that it was “an honour” to write a letter of support. “The vibrancy of the colours and choreography make the event an unforgettable experience. The production is a great celebration of Chinese culture and one the whole family will enjoy,” he wrote. Mr. Coe saw the performance last year and was impressed.
Similarly, Brendan Smyth, deputy leader of the Liberal Party in opposition, noted that “China has a long and distinguished cultural history, aspects of which will be on display in this performance. Canberra has a much shorter history but we have developed a vibrant multicultural society which we celebrate.” Also drawing on his experience of the performance last year, Mr. Smyth wrote that he was looking forward to the “magnificent display of dance, music and costumes provided by Shen Yun Performing Arts.”
Canberra, founded as the capital of Australia in 1913, now has a population of close to 350,000. It is unique for the abundance of trees and areas of natural vegetation sprinkled throughout the city, even near central business areas, and as such was given the sobriquet of “the bush capital.”
Canberrans are among the most educated citizens in Australia and have the highest average levels of disposable income. Canberra is both the seat of Australia’s Parliament and core parts of the country’s bureaucracy; the single largest employer in the city is the Federal Government.
The Canberra Theatre, nestled in the city’s geographical centre, is Canberra’s primary performing arts venue.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform four shows in Canberra from May 21–23; then travel to Melbourne for seven shows from May 25–30. For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org