MELBOURNE, Australia—Luke Donnellan, a minister in the Victorian state government, said China’s ancient history was beautifully told through the performance presented by New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company.
Donnellan, the minister for Child Protection and Disability, appreciated the authentic Chinese culture that he and his family experienced during the matinee performance at the historic Regent Theatre, on Feb. 9.
"Lovely, lovely—a beautiful way of telling a story," he said.
"The history of China is a long history. There are many influences over that period of time. … So, it’s really giving a greater understanding of that, I guess the development of the culture, the dancing—it's helping me to understand all that," Donnellan said.
The company is one of six touring the world simultaneously on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture, performing in over 130 cities around the world. Shen Yun showcases five millennia of Chinese traditions and cultural values, and these were once almost lost under 70 years of communist rule. For many, the China Shen Yun presents is a new and different side of China.
Donnellan said it was important the audience got the opportunity to see this history, and make their own judgement.
"I think that's the important part, that people have that opportunity, more than anything else," he said. "It's really saying, this is the history we want to present of China, and we leave it to you to make those assessments."
Keeping Authentic Chinese Culture Alive
Kevin Bailey, a senate candidate for the Conservatives Party, said he found Shen Yun a magnificent, breathtaking cultural performance.
"It's wonderful to see that they're able to showcase so many different aspects of Chinese culture," he said.
Bailey, a former member of the Australian Army SAS and a former consul general for East Timor, is no stranger to other cultures. He realized what he was watching was the authentic history of Chinese culture, its spirituality, and its values, which continue to be suppressed in China by the communist party.
"The fact that the cultural expression of a lot of the Chinese culture that can't be displayed [in China] today is very sad. One of the greatest civilizations that the Earth's seen and to actually keep that alive is something I'm very pleased with," he said.
The Shen Yun program includes stories passed down over the millennia. These include themes such as faith in the divine, the idea that good will be rewarded and evil punished, and having courage to speak the truth. Bailey was impressed with a piece set in 21st century China about people practicing meditation.
"I think obviously the persecution of Falun Dafa is particularly poignant," Bailey said, referencing the meditation practice banned in China by the communist party. "What it's portraying is that whole triumph of good over evil, and the fact that people can continually push to hold down truth and beauty and goodness, but that ultimately, force cannot overcome the truth—ultimately, truth will prevail."
Bailey was happy to recommend Shen Yun, saying, "What I'd say is that it's spectacular—the beauty of the whole experience is really something that's worthwhile seeing."