SYDNEY—Under the star-lit canopy of Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, Shen Yun Performing Arts’ classical Chinese dance and music spectacular took centre stage on Saturday May 5.
Darcy Anderson, school counsellor at the NSW Department of Education and Communities, and retired senior lecturer from The University of Sydney, was immersed in the performance.
“I enjoyed the show. I didn’t quite know what to expect. My wife organised the tickets,” he said. “I thought it was spectacular; better than I thought it would be.”
Renowned for its classical Chinese dance, folk and ethnic dance, its orchestral blend of Western and Eastern instrumentation, unique animated backdrops, and gorgeous costumes, Shen Yun gives audiences across the globe a taste of 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
“It was extremely colourful. I was impressed by the synchronicity of the performance and the athleticism of, in particular, the guys. … I thought the backdrops and the … synchronicity with the dance, that was quite impressive, very entertaining. If anybody asked me about it I’d certainly encourage them to see it.”
With its 40-member orchestra that tours with the company, Shen Yun combines two great musical traditions, seamlessly blending sounds from the East and West. The company’s orchestra has a Western philharmonic orchestra as its foundation, combined with classical Chinese instruments such as the erhu, dizi, pipa, and suona.
Mr. Anderson said the orchestra was “lovely,” in particular, “the overlays of the Chinese traditional instruments with the Western orchestra was really good.”
His ear also caught the soulful tones of the erhu virtuoso, Xiaochun Qi, playing the ancient Chinese two-stringed bowed instrument.
“I thought it was a great show,” he said.
‘Very interesting, very entertaining’
Also in the audience, Primary School music teacher Dympna Collignon, was also taken by Shen Yun.
“It’s wonderful. I’m really enjoying it,” she said. “I think the dancing is beautiful and the costumes are wonderful.”
Ms. Collignon was captured by the hi-tech digital backdrops, providing animated settings that synchronized with the choreography.
“Very interesting and very entertaining,” she said. “I liked the one with the lotus, [Lotus Leaves]. I thought the costumes and the music, but particularly the little umbrellas [fans] and lotus leaves they had in their hands were beautiful.”
She was soothed by the orchestra’s combination of the Chinese and Western instruments, saying, “It’s a very soothing type of music.”
‘Something very special’
Personal development teacher Melissa Honor was also enjoying the performance.
“It’s lovely. It’s very colourful and I feel like I’ve been transported back to ancient China, seeing some lovely traditions and the music is wonderful. I feel like I’ve been taken back to a long time ago and seeing something very special.”
The ancient Chinese culture has a deep spiritual core, “with its values of benevolence, honor, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens,” according to the Shen Yun website.
Ms. Honor appreciated the introduction of each piece by the two emcees.
“It’s great because there’s information given along the way so it really orientates you to what’s happening and Chinese traditions, culture and history,” she said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world, with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will next perform in Honolulu, Hawaii, on May 8-9.
For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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