(Minghui.org) The New York-based classical Chinese dance and music company Shen Yun Performing Arts concluded a spectacular two-city, four-show run in New Zealand on February 9, 2013, at the beloved St. James Theatre in Wellington, and the historic Civic Theatre in downtown Auckland.
Shen Yun’s “Beauty and Compassion” Captivates Audiences
Mala with her mother, Carol Miller, attend Shen Yun Performing Arts at Wellington’s St. James Theatre. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Among the many delighted guests of the show was Carol Miller, a former ballet teacher, who had brought her daughter, Mala, a facilitator for government funded medical alarms, to see Shen Yun. It was Mala’s birthday.
Ms. Miller thought the performance was amazing. “Of course [there's] the color, and divine costumes, and the very controlled and perfect choreography,” she said.
“All the dancers were strong. No one stood out or seemed weak in the [dance] company. And they’re controlled, they’ve got amazing flexibility … they were good with leaps, they were good with turns, very polished, and good all around,” she explained.
Ms. Miller especially enjoyed the animated digitized backdrops where “people come flying down off the screen onto the stage.”
Mala agreed, adding, “The timing was amazing. Every time it was perfectly timed when [the performers] … hit the water,” she said, referring to animated backgrounds with life-like oceans that are an integral part of the different stories that unfold on stage.
The seamless interplay between the different colors and patterns brought out feelings of compassion and divinity, said Mala.
Ms. Miller said, “I was moved to tears a few times. It was very uplifting. They use the costumes brilliantly with their movement. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
Some dance sets portrayed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice, which Mala felt was touching. “I think that it is true beauty and compassion.”
Falun Dafa is an ancient spiritual practice of meditation and gentle exercises. Its practitioners, who follow the principals of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, have been persecuted by the CCP since July 1999.
“How brave it is [to] nurture that tradition when it’s so beautiful, to try and protect it and bring it back. It’s very special,” she said.
Mala was surprised and delighted to find that Shen Yun was accompanied by a live orchestra of classical European and traditional Chinese instruments.
Music Teacher: Shen Yun Is An “Extravaganza”
Kate Marshall at the matinee performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts at the St. James Theatre on Feb. 6. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Also in the audience was Kate Marshall, a piano and flute teacher.
“I’ve done a lot of shows myself … [Shen Yun] is an extravaganza, that’s what it is,” said Ms. Marshall.
“I’m really impressed that they have brought their own orchestra,” she said, adding that the orchestral performance was “stunning.”
Ms. Marshall said it’s a rare experience to be able to listen to Eastern instruments in New Zealand.
“The level of the skill of the players was fantastic,” she said.
She was very impressed with the discipline displayed by the performers and the way they structured themselves on the stage.
“It’s just unbelievable and they do it every single time,” she said.
Every dancer stood out as an individual—with individual smiles, Ms. Marshall added. “It’s just outstanding.”
She also relished how the performers enacted the story-based dances presented by Shen Yun, and said that the dancing was a beautiful way to convey those stories.
The stories in the dances range from ancient legends of the culture’s creation to modern day stories of courage and the persecution of the spiritual discipline Falun Dafa in today’s China.
Ms. Marshall said she had heard about Falun Dafa and thought it was good that the spiritual group’s story had been adapted into a story-based dance.
Such events should not be hidden, she said. “In fact if that’s what’s going on, it needs to be spoken about!”
The music teacher advised anyone involved in a show or production to come and see Shen Yun.
Shen Yun “Spectacular and Unique,” Says New Zealand Official
Colin Craig, leader of New Zealand’s Conservative Party, attended the Shen Yun Performing Arts show at the historic Civic Theatre. (Photo courtesy of NTD Television)
One of the many VIPs attending the show was Colin Craig, leader of New Zealand’s Conservative Party.
“Fantastic,” said Mr. Craig, who especially enjoyed the “amazing costumes,” and “beautiful colors.”
Mr. Craig was impressed with the flips and many challenging tumbling movements that are part of classical Chinese dance.
He also enjoyed the humorous story-based dances, such as “Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor,” which tells about the legend of Buddhist monks who were caught eating a rabbit.
“You could see the audience laugh and I thought they were great,” enthused Mr. Craig.
The New Zealand official said that learning about Chinese culture opened a whole new world for him and “gave me an appreciation of Chinese dance that I didn’t have,” he said.
Mr. Craig was also taken by the live Shen Yun Orchestra. “The music was brilliant; a little bit of mix of Chinese and Western was very clever. I think it‘s a great way to see some Chinese culture, [especially] the traditional dance side of things that you just wouldn’t see if this show didn’t exist.”
Mr. Craig appreciated the importance of preserving culture and how Shen Yun was able to get that point across so perfectly. “Things that matter to people, the dance, the beliefs—those sorts of things are important.”
When asked how he would describe the show to his friends, he replied, “It [Shen Yun] is something special and you’ll be impressed. You’ll come away having seen some amazing dance and music, and something really beautiful that you won’t forget!”
He summed up his impression of Shen Yun, by saying, “brilliantly done,” adding, “Visually it is very spectacular and unique.”
Doctor Says Shen Yun “A Discovery of Culture”
Doctor Meera Sool enjoyed Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company’s performance in Wellington. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Doctor Meera Sool said that she enjoyed the performance from start to finish.
The messages of ethical values and peace that Shen Yun conveyed, delighted Ms. Sool. “I think that it was a very good expedition, a discovery of culture. I like the peaceful message in there and that it’s what every person wants.”
Ms. Sool spoke about the story-based dance “Divine Mercy,” where the persecution of Falun Dafa was exposed.
It is a story about the battle between good and evil, an enduring theme that exists across all cultures. In Tiananmen Square, a group of Falun Dafa practitioners gather to demonstrate in support of their belief in Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance.
“I‘m not surprised, but I’m sad that [Shen Yun] can’t be displayed in China … I’m proud that it’s displayed here,” Ms Sool said.
The doctor said that she had never experienced a performance like Shen Yun. “It was very good, not just because of what it’s saying, but the sheer fact that you can’t even express yourself in China. The message is different, but everybody should be able to say their view.”
CATEGORY: Shen Yun Performing Arts