ISTANBUL—Shen Yun in Istanbul was met with showers of applause on Saturday, May 22, at the Lutfi Kirdar Congre Centre’s Anadolu Auditorium. The audience responded warmly during as well as after the dances, and the arias of the bel canto singers were met with resounding applause. At the show’s end, a standing ovation greeted Shen Yun.
Alev Copur, a graphic designer, was among the audience. He said he had done some online research before the show, and he only knew a little about Shen Yun. After seeing Shen Yun during the Saturday matinee, his expectations had been exceeded. He shared, “I didn’t know much about this—I heard about it and I came—and it was actually fantastic!”
Mr. Copur spoke of “a sense of the balance in the show,” and beamed, “I´m impressed!”
According to the official website of Shen Yun, classical Chinese dance is noted for its extensive training, which includes aerial movements such as “a wealth of high-flying dives, dexterous leaps, and diverse spins.” Alongside these techniques is the depth with which dancers who have mastered the techniques are able to portray not only “a given figure’s disposition or mood, but even the vivid expressions unique to a certain age, whatever the land or time.”
Perhaps this depth was what Mr. Copur spoke of when he said that what most impressed him was “the idea of the show.” As a professional visual artist, he spoke of Shen Yun’s powerful ability to reach an audience member and evoke a sense of narrative, saying, “With images you see that make a special sense when they come together, it creates a story with the faces and the dances. That hit me in the heart!”
Mr. Copur spoke about his sense of the importance of what Shen Yun has brought to his home region. “I´m going to recommend it,” he said, and he emphasized that he had a deep appreciation for the content of Shen Yun, in terms of both theme and technique. Regarding how the conductor kept the live orchestra synched with the dancers, he said, “What impressed me most about the show is that it is a live orchestra and live performers, and they come together!” As for the orchestra, he said that lesser superlatives were not enough and that it could only be considered to be “excellent!”
Mr. Copur was particularly moved by the content of the story-based dances that touched on the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Shen Yun portrays two story-based dances in this category. One is Astounding Conviction—in which the arrest and brutal beating of a man who has come to Tiananmen square to simply hold up a banner that reads “Falun Dafa is Good” is portrayed. As the dance unfolds, the lone principle dancer performs a solo until we see that he is not alone—and his dreary prison and broken state are transformed, as his “astounding conviction inspires divine beings to come to his aid,” according to the program.
“I know that the Chinese government doesn’t want them to perform this,” said Mr. Copur.
“The idea of Falun Dafa is in my view good for human health,” he explained. “I did some research,” he said. “I definitely want to try the Falun Dafa exercises, now. And I find the idea of it to be good.”
With reporting by Florian Godovits.
For more information, please visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org