Shen Yun More Than Dance, Music and Singing

'Also about connectedness of humanity, spirituality and the enormity of life'
February 28, 2016

BRISBANE, Australia—Counsellor Jennifer McMahon sensed there was something incredibly unique and wonderful about the Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company from New York.

The world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company appeared at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Lyric Theatre on Saturday evening, Feb. 27, the third of a four show-run which ends Sunday Feb. 28.

“It was fabulous, I really loved it,” Ms. McMahon said. “Breathtaking, absolutely amazing and just such a profound experience, it was great.”

Shen Yun weaves delight and intrigue into a series of mini-dramas depicting heroic legends, folkloric tales, myths and stories of courage, bringing 5,000 years of China’s divinely-inspired culture into the 21st century.

An orchestra playing a mix of East and West composition, sopranos singing bel canto with piano accompaniment, an erhu virtuoso (ancient two-stringed Chinese instrument), an array of radiant costumes and stunning backdrops, altogether created a tapestry of sound and colour.

“I loved the drumming one, [“Drums of the Grasslands“]. That was really spectacular and I just love drumming,” Ms. McMahon said. “I felt it through my heart and in my whole body actually. I thought it was a very special experience, the whole experience altogether.

“The music was incredible, the costumes were amazing, the dance was just mesmerizing and everything just flowed. It just spoke to me in a way I can’t fully describe.”

Ms. McMahon felt moved by the artists’ delivery of the presentation, just as the emcees explained: “Shen Yun translates as ‘divine beings dancing on stage.'”

There was a real sense of spirituality and that sense of other beings’ presence.
— Jennifer McMahon

“I really felt that sense, that presence in the way they danced and the music portrayed, that was bigger than a part of everything. There was a real sense of spirituality and that sense of other beings’ presence.”

For Ms. McMahon, who didn’t have a strong understanding of Chinese culture, Shen Yun spoke to her in a universal language, she said. Shen Yun’s performance gave her a sense there was more to life, something beyond human understanding.

Reflecting on spirituality, she said, “It’s just an act of faith, belief and trust that there has to be something greater, a higher being, an essence, a presence, I guess we all have a different way of describing it.”

“I just imagine that the artists—the dancers, musicians and singers—that there’s a huge commitment to their understanding and love of their culture, the awareness and their spirituality … in sharing that.”

She said Shen Yun draws an audience in leaving them wanting more.

“It’s a remarkable story of an incredibly vibrant and important culture which is intrinsically linked to us as human beings … it was a real engagement of spirit and the creation of joy.”

Over the years, Ms. McMahon said she has had “lots of glimpses” of ancient Chinese culture, but Shen Yun gave her more.

“It is like a tapestry woven together over a two hour time frame which was extended back thousands of years which was just, wow for me. It was amazing, profound, spectacular and joyous.”

She paid tribute to the Shen Yun artists “for putting so much of their heart into what they do, because I could feel it and it was such an incredible thing to actually feel that presence they were trying to convey, … [and] also to feel their passion—it was just such a beautiful thing.”

Reporting by NTD Television and Raiatea Tahana-Reese

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.