BBC Presenter Says Shen Yun Is ‘Elegance Personified’

Feb 15, 2024
BBC Presenter Says Shen Yun Is ‘Elegance Personified’
BBC presenter Mark Irvine at Shen Yun Performing Arts at the SEC Armadillo, in Glasgow, on Feb. 14, 2024. (NTD)

GLASGOW, U.K.—Mark Irvine, BBC presenter, antique dealer, and entrepreneur, saw Shen Yun Performing Arts for the first time at the SEC Armadillo on Feb. 14.

“It’s heavenly, it’s culturally stimulating,” he said. “You can feel the beauty, the emotion, the passion—the passion for what is going on onstage—and the cultural pride,” he added.

Mr. Irvine attended the performance with his wife, Roo Irvine, a BBC TV antique expert, for a romantic Valentine’s evening.

“I’m totally in love with the movement, with the color, the flair, it’s just it’s exquisite … elegance personified,” he said. “And on this Valentine’s night, it is such a beautiful occasion.”

New York-based Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company. Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun presents story-based dances depicting heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales from ancient times to the modern-day.
With a mission to revive China’s 5,000-year-old traditional culture, Shen Yun says its performances demonstrate “China before communism.”

“I’ve been very fortunate to travel to China on several occasions on business, so I’ve seen the modern China,” said Mr. Irvine. “But to see historical China, to see the stories, the history, and the beauty, is just wonderful.”

“It’s a part of China that in the West we don’t see,” he added. “And pre-communism … you don’t get to see where China’s culture has come from, so for me, it’s a revelation; it’s beautiful!”

Mr. Irvine said he appreciated the traditional values portrayed in the dance stories.

“There’s loyalty, there’s faith, there’s passion, there’s love, and there’s a stoicism,” he said. “It’s rooted in their culture, so you can feel the passion for their country … it’s beautiful.”

According to the company’s website, the presented heroes embody the most exalted virtues of Chinese civilization and convey morals still relevant to the modern day.

“For me, [Shen Yun’s] a chance to experience something which you would never get to see anywhere in the world,” he said.

One of Shen Yun’s unique features is its orchestra. It’s the first in the world to combine traditional Chinese instruments into a classical Western orchestra permanently. Ancient Chinese instruments such as the two-string erhu and the pipa lead the melody amidst the traditional instruments found in a Western orchestra.

Mr. Irvine said the music was so “absorbing and so beautiful” that he would have forgotten there was a live orchestra if he hadn’t been seated in the front row. “You drift away in the vision and the imagery,” he said.

Thanking Shen Yun’s artistic director, Mr. Irvine said: “It’s just such a heavenly, passionate, beautiful experience, so thank you for bringing it to us here in Glasgow.”

He emphasized to readers who have not yet seen the Shen Yun to “please, please book and go … it is just beautiful, absolutely beautiful!”

Rediscovering Ancient Roots

Scott Lewis Moosher and Bethany Guangya Ferris at Shen Yun at the SEC Armadillo, in Glasgow, on Feb. 14, 2024. (NTD).
Scott Lewis Moosher and Bethany Guangya Ferris at Shen Yun at the SEC Armadillo, in Glasgow, on Feb. 14, 2024. (NTD).

Bethany Guangya Ferris, a support worker and physiotherapist, also saw Shen Yun for the first time with Scott Lewis Moosher, technical manager for a medical training facility, at the SEC Armadillo on the evening of Valentine’s Day.

“It was amazing … really touching [and] quite emotional in some parts,” said Ms. Ferris.

She enjoyed how the performance journeyed “back to the very beginning—how and why humans came here—and how it developed into modern day.”

Born in China but adopted when she was one year old, Ms. Ferris said, “getting back into the traditional culture of China was really interesting, it’s really inspired me to look further into my past.”

Mr. Moosher was blown away by the performance, saying: “The whole idea, the way it built, the drama, … the different types of scenes, and the performance … was just fantastic!”

As a former martial artist, he was inspired to see how classical Chinese dance developed from combat and martial arts over the centuries and how the culture developed into the modern day.
With its flips and gentle elegance, classical Chinese dance is one of the most athletic and expressive art forms in the world. According to the company’s website, Shen Yun has preserved the true aesthetics of this classical dance system—the way it has been passed down from antiquity— and presents this authentic culture in its purest form.

Empowered by the underlying spirituality of ancient Chinese culture, Mr. Moosher said: “What’s really interesting about Chinese culture is the deep developments and the spirituality behind it … always emphasizing the connection with the divine.

“I like the kindness of the messages,” he added. “How kindness develops across humanity and also how it’s rewarded—how goodness and kindness [are] rewarded throughout.”

Reporting by NTD and Jennifer Schneider.
The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of Shen Yun Performing Arts. We have covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.
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