BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom—For Emma Nelson and Steve Bedford, the opening scene of Shen Yun was a deeply touching experience.
“You feel quite emotional actually and don’t know why,” said Ms. Nelson. “It just stirred in me quite a lot of emotion. I know I was a bit tearful and wasn’t sure quite why.”
In the dance, entitled Following the Creator to Renew All Things, heavenly beings follow the Creator down to the Earth to establish civilization, according to the Shen Yun programme book.
“It was a lovely, beautiful bright start to the performance overall, and really got you engaged straight way,” Mr. Bedford said after the performance on Sunday, March 29 at the Birmingham ICC.
Ms. Nelson said she used to perform West African dance and drumming, which draws on proverbial wisdom, and she appreciated the way the Shen Yun performance also contains what she called “core truths”: “The importance of doing things the right way and of being right; the light always prevailing,” she said.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts’ mission is to revive China’s traditional divinely inspired culture, according to their website. Central to a performance is classical Chinese dance, together with ethnic dances, solo vocal and instrumental performances, and a unique orchestra that blends Eastern and Western instruments.
Classical Chinese dance is a highly expressive art form that has absorbed the essence and virtues of Chinese culture as it has been passed down over the ages. As the Shen Yun dancers perform tales and legends from across China’s 5,000 years of documented history up to the present day, they embody values such as tolerance, compassion, loyalty, and courage.
Both Mr. Bedford and Ms. Nelson expressed their admiration for the historical aspects of the performance.
“It’s lovely to know that a lot of what we are listening to and seeing is historical and has got roots,” said Mr. Bedford, with Ms. Nelson adding: “You must see it to hear the message of tradition.”
Also in the audience on Sunday afternoon was Hanna Byfield, who too was deeply touched by the performance. “It’s just moving, amazing, very emotional. I loved every minute of it,” she said.
“From the first curtain up—the serenity, the beauty, the costumes, the colour, the way the girls slid across the floor like angels—it was just unbelievable.”
Hanna’s husband is an artist and she is a former art gallery owner and has been involved with art, painting, and exhibitions for many years. She strongly recommended people to see Shen Yun if they have the opportunity.
“If you have to make a bit of an effort, if it’s a little bit out of your area, just make an exception, make the effort to go and see it,” she said.
Reporting by Debbie Mumford and John Smithies.
Shen Yun Performing Arts will next perform at the Lyric Theatre, The Lowry, Salford Quays on March 31 and April 1 before continuing their European tour.
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.