Ms. Oldroyd taught ballet for 12 years before becoming a nurse. She said she grew up with an appreciation for the arts and she could appreciate the discipline required of the dancers. She noted that there was a distinct difference in the techniques of classical Chinese dance and many aspects of the performance resonated with her.
“Chinese dance is at the heart of what Shen Yun does. Known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance, classical Chinese dance is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” the Shen Yun website says.
Ms. Oldroyd was saddened by the fact that Shen Yun, based in New York, is unable to perform in China but took comfort knowing the company is able to perform in every other country all over the world.
“Traditional Chinese culture and art forms—formed over millennia by the three pillars of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism—were largely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and decades of suppression by the communist regime,” says the Shen Yun website.
“It’s very sad that they cannot perform in their own country, but at least here we have the opportunity to see it,” she said.
An additional creative aspect of the performance is how the digitally animated backdrop and dancers on stage interact.
Talking about how the animated characters descend from the screen and disappear precisely as the dancers appear on the stage. Ms. Oldroyd said, “That is incredibly well done, especially the way they come out of the [backdrop] and join the actual video into the dances as well, it is very well done.”
‘A must see’
Tina Lowe and Paula Hosstee also attended the performance and were most impressed by the animated backdrop.
Ms. Hosstee said, “It’s just something very special to see.”
Ms. Lowe thought it was, “very cleverly done.”
She said, “I like fairy tales and stuff like that and there’s a little bit of that too you know.”
She also liked the precision of the dancers as well as the costumes. “I can’t stop smiling, it is really, really beautiful,” she said. “It’s fantastic.”
Ms. Hosstee said she felt, “Very exhilarated.”
“It’s beautiful, the music was very relaxing. It just transports you.”
Both ladies felt it was important to see what is happening in China today and Ms. Lowe said coming from a communist country herself she understood the courage needed to do bring messages of freedom to the people.
She was also grateful the dancers had the opportunity to bring China’s 5000 years of history and culture to the stage.
Alice O’Donnell, a beautician, and Kylie McLean, a child care trainer were inspired by Shen Yun’s performance.
Ms. McLean loved the dancing and the costumes and the story lines. “It makes you feel really great,” she said. “It really inspired me.”
Ms. O’Donnell agreed, “Inspired!”
“Principles like benevolence, propriety, divine retribution, and respect for the heavens were the essence of traditional culture,” according to the Shen Yun website. “These are among the values that originated from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism—disciplines that were at the heart of Chinese society for thousands of years.”
Ms. O’Donnell and Ms. McLean agreed that the belief in the divine is relevant in today’s world as it is a genuine way of being, having these principles and practices in everyday life.
“I think it’s a great way to live and people need to learn a little more about that style of living, you know, meditation and focusing on how powerful the mind can be,” said Ms. O’Donnell.
Reporting by NTD Television and Margo MacVicar
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.