Amidst the crowded theatre was Helen Lawis, former dance teacher, now a teacher of English and Drama at a Melbourne secondary school.
She loved what she saw of the New York-based world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company on a mission to revive the true traditional culture of China—a heritage that the ancient Chinese believed was bestowed by heaven and all but desecrated under six decades of communist rule.
“I am loving it, it is fantastic, it is very vibrant, very colourful,” Ms. Lawis said of the “beautiful costumes.”
Continuing on, she praised the hi-tech animated backdrop scenes that took spectators to celestial realms and back again.
“I love the backdrops, the settings is really lovely as well. It really brings home parts of China, which I think is very beautiful, it is a really beautiful country.”
At the heart of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, an ancient system that is both one of the most comprehensive and one of the hardest to master in the world, according to the company’s website. It involves complete training in the fundamentals, and systematic training in movements and postures and very difficult jumping and tumbling techniques.
“I just love the discipline and the techniques that the dancers are showing as well. I’m just admiring the application of the techniques,” Ms. Lawis said.
“Everything is so disciplined, well-structured. Everybody is in perfect timing, I really love it. It is very orderly, very beautiful, just the energy and vibrancy [of the] dance performances. Very beautiful.”
Shen Yun is one of three companies traversing more than 100 cities on four continents, USA, Europe, Asia and Australasia, each travelling with a full orchestra that plays a unique blend of ancient Eastern and modern Western instruments.
“The music is beautiful too. I like this traditional type of music. I enjoy it as well,” the educationalist said.
‘Very colourful and unusual’
Margaret Pearce, writer of children’s and teen’s fiction was also in the audience with her granddaughter Jacqueline, a university student majoring in special education.
Mrs. Pearce said Shen Yun was “very enjoyable, very colorful and unusual.”
She was also impressed with the abilities of all the dancers and liked the digital background for its magnificent scenery and colours.
Jacqueline “really enjoyed” the performance as well.
“I have never seen dance like this before,” she concluded.
Reporting by Jade Lor, Julia Huang and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at the Canberra Theatre, in Canberra, April 17 and 18.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.