SYDNEY, Australia—Classical ballet teacher and principal of The Ballet School Australia, Noeleyne Rosemary Wilson, was brought to tears by Shen Yun Performing Arts on Sunday evening.
“It was so inspirational and just so uplifting. It was an incredible experience,” she said from the Sydney Lyric Theatre. “I was in tears most of the time.”
As a dancer and teacher of the art form, Ms. Wilson explained the elements she believes elevates New York-based Shen Yun performance to another level, moving people to tears with culture, stories, dance, and music.
“I can identify with dancing from the soul,” she said.
“I feel that there is just a purity,” she added of the way the performers carry themselves and their delivery. “It comes down to kindness, having a good heart, understanding, compassion … it shines through in everything that they do.
“In every moment that they make, they give a message of the world being good again, which would be amazing if that happened. It would be.
“I think it’s what the world needs more of at the moment because we’ve lost our way a lot, so I think it’s really bringing a beautiful message,” she said of the production.
As the company explains on its website, the Chinese characters, Shen Yun, mean “the beauty of divine beings dancing.”
The website goes on to say that many classical Chinese dance movements actually came from China’s rich culture of martial arts. However, the movements in classical Chinese dance are different from the modern martial arts moves seen in today’s kung fu movies as it integrates an additional element: a person’s “inner bearing,” which enriches the dance movements with the expression of a performer’s inner feelings.
As the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s glorious culture, which was known in ancient times as the “Celestial Empire,” where the divine and mortal once coexisted.
Shen Yun travels the world with eight touring companies presenting to its audiences “China before communism.”
Students Changed By Shen Yun
Ms. Wilson said that her students have also been inspired and motivated by Shen Yun.
“It’s changed them incredibly already: their focus has changed, their understanding of why they do what they do.
“When they saw the dancers, it really highlighted for them the importance of reaching inwards, being a good person, being kind, being respectful; all of that just triggered even more in them,” she said.
“So when we got back to the studio, there was this focus and understanding and this joy of what they do, and wanting to share that with other people in how they perform and how they work.”
She commended Shen Yun’s performers and their dedication to their art.
“I think that in their dedication and the way that they approach their program, in the way that they purely put so much effort and so much love into what they do, I think that comes through in everything that they present. And the stories that they’re telling on stage, everything is about that essence of being good and finding the right path in the world. I found the whole show mesmerising in that regard,” Ms. Wilson said.
“It really spoke to my heart and to my soul, and I know to my students as well. They were very, very touched, and it’s beautiful.
“It was unbelievable, I’m so grateful for the experience.”
This Is a ‘Masterclass’
Australian film and TV producer and actress Zoe Naylor was also in the audience on Sunday night and enjoyed Shen Yun with her mother and daughter.
“Oh, it’s faultless, isn’t it? World-class and incredibly inspiring to people,” she said after the performance.
She said the diversity of stories showcased by Shen Yun had been “a beautiful surprise.”
“I didn’t know that was part of this show. I thought it was just dance, so I’ve been really, really enthralled with the storytelling aspect and the humour.
“It’s got a really light touch, feels almost effortless, yet I can totally appreciate the years and years of dedication that has gone into making this the masterclass that it is,” she said.
Ms. Naylor added, “I really, really appreciate the spiritual part of the storytelling… [there’s] just so much we don’t know about China and its history.
“This beautiful storytelling [is] an education through this ancient modality of dance. This is the best schooling that I can be offering in terms of history and art fused together,” she said.
Reporting by Cindy Li, NTD, and Melanie Sun.