LONDON, U.K.—Audience members entered another realm, as magic unfolded on stage at London’s Eventim Apollo. Taken on a journey through 5,000 years of divinely-inspired Chinese culture, two famous magicians found themselves immersed in the “spectacle” of Shen Yun Performing Arts.
“It was a spectacular event. The synchronicity of the artist[s] was incredible. You know, within millimeters … Everybody’s hands, arms, legs, feet, all in exactly the right place,” said Marvin Berglas, a world -class magician and creator of Marvin’s Magic, the largest magic company in the world.
Marvin attended Shen Yun’s first London show of the season on Jan. 17, 2020. This sold-out performance got the ball rolling, with the next 10 performances in the capital city following suit.
New York-based Shen Yun has taken the world by storm in the past decade; using classical Chinese dance as the foundation of its performances, it fulfills its mission of reviving the 5,000-year divinely inspired culture of ancient China.
Marvin described Shen Yun’s performance as a “very worthwhile, colorful, and spectacular thing that you won’t see every day.”
“It’s worthwhile seeing it because there’s clearly thousands and thousands of hours [that] have gone into making it perfect,” said Marvin.
Shen Yun’s Special Effects Captivate Magicians
It was no surprise that the part of the performance that captivated this magician the most was the “magic” that transported the dancers back in time and to other worlds.
“I particularly liked the special effects. The backdrop was sensational and the times when they’d introduced a magic element to it really added to the spectacle,” said Marvin.
This “magic element” he spoke of was none other than Shen Yun’s innovative animated projection. Unlike a stage magician, Shen Yun does reveal what’s behind its magic tricks—though one could say the Shen Yun dancers’ ability to be in perfect sync with the digital backdrop comes close to magic, itself.
Shen Yun’s website states: “Shen Yun’s digital projection instantly puts you on the scene. By extending the stage to infinite realms, the projection allows storytelling without limits. It also has a few surprises. A Shen Yun innovation creates seamless interaction between projection and performers on stage—an invention so original it has its own patent.”
Marvin said he was very familiar with special effects, and felt that Shen Yun’s use “really added to the drama”.
“I love seeing that type of thing!” said Marvin.
Marvin wasn’t the only one who marveled at Shen Yun’s special effects. His father, David Berglas, a famous magician who has been involved with numerous major films including five James Bond movies, was also in awe of Shen Yun’s interactive special effects.
Unable to give an interview after the performance, he shared his comments afterwards via email:
“Having spent over 70 years in show-business–both as a performer and as technical advisor for major film and stage productions, I really appreciated the innovative technique of combining back projection with the stage performers,” wrote David via email.
Even after decades in show-business, one won’t have seen anything quite like Shen Yun’s interactive backdrop—with its patent, it can’t be found anywhere else. After every performance, there are always audience members who comment in astonishment on this unique feature.
“The huge, stage-filling and beautiful backgrounds, really enhanced the production with its unique mixture of animation and still imagery,” wrote David in his email.
Experiencing Chinese Culture Like Never Before
During Marvin’s interview, he expressed that he found the ancient Chinese culture interesting, and learnt a lot from the performance—where he experienced China like never before.
“You know, it’s something that we’re all, perhaps, familiar with to some extent, but to see it in that scale, and the costumes, and the colors, and the backdrops was … was truly wonderful,” said Marvin.
The music of Shen Yun stood out to Marvin, who felt there was an interesting use of instruments in the orchestra. Some of the instruments he had heard before, while others brought new melodies to his ears. He had glowing praise for the overall musical experience.
“The orchestra being live and synchronizing with the dancers and gymnasts was superb.” he said.
Shen Yun is known the world over for its unique symphony orchestra, being the first in the world to permanently combine classical Western and Eastern instruments.
“It’s quite inspirational,” Marvin said of the performance and overall effect.
“Makes you want to get out and do a bit more exercise and dance a bit, more laughing!”
With reporting by NTD Television and Grace Coulter.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.