THE HAGUE, Netherlands—Uyghur opera singer Augul Assan came from Amsterdam to see Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company's opening night at The Hague's Lucent Danstheater on Tuesday, April 12.
“Watching Shen Yun is a rare chance … a show which is worthwhile seeing, whether from the view of technical skills or from all of its other aspects,” she said. “I came here from Amsterdam by train to see the Shen Yun performance. I don't want to miss this chance.”
The New York-based Shen Yun is a colorful and exuberant performance of classical Chinese dance and music aimed to reawaken China’s divinely-bestowed heritage, desecrated under communist rule.
“I feel the whole show gives me inspiration from all aspects. From the technical skills to the especially rich content of the programs,” Ms. Assan said. “There were also some vigorous, lively dances, and humorous, funny dances.
In a collection of short story-based dance pieces, the audience travels from the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions; from the legends of the culture’s creation over 5,000 years ago through to the story of Falun Dafa in China today; from the highest heavens down to the dusty plateaus of the Middle Kingdom, the company's website explains.
Ms. Assan was experiencing a totally new feeling with this show. “It's like there is a ‘can never watch enough’ feeling,” she said.
As an opera singer, she often goes to shows–both on and off stage—but she has never seen anything like Shen Yun’s hi-tech digital backdrop scenes.
“I think there is nothing like it,” she said.
She said the vocal skills and classical Chinese dance techniques of Shen Yun were "very high."
“Tenors and sopranos have a solid foundation. … the professional level is very high,” she reiterated.
The final program, The Opening of Heaven’s Gates, touched Ms. Assan deeply.
She enjoyed the way divine beings were shown to interact with humankind by offering salvation. She was also filled with compassion for dances that depicted the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong in China, a reality she is well aware of.
“It really shows the things happening in society,” she said. “Very touching, especially when I saw the scene of the mother carrying her son on her back, I was very touched." She was referring to the dance No Regrets in which a young man refuses to relinquish his cherished book, Zhuan Falun, the main text of the spiritual practice Falun Gong. He falls victim to police violence and his mother is left to grieve, until the heavens open and a host of divine beings appear.
But on a happier note, Ms. Assan laughed at the humorous antics of the young monks who engage in a little of their own training while the abbot is away, and the renowned Monkey King tricks Pigsy, a tale adapted from the beloved Chinese novel, Journey to the West.
“The dance where Pigsy wants to marry was very funny. It attracted waves of applause from the audience and waves of laughter … very funny, particularly beautiful. It gives the audience a great sense of happiness. The audience's response was very enthusiastic.”
Ms. Assan urges everyone not to miss this show.
Reporting by NTD Television and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform one more show in The Hague on Thursday evening, April 14, at the Lucent Danstheatre. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org