Brisbane, Australia: Shen Yun Showcases the Timeless Essence of Chinese Culture (Photos)
(Minghui.org) Shen Yun Performing Arts made a deep and lasting impression on Australian audiences during four awe-inspiring shows held at the Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, in Brisbane on February 1-3, 2013. Each performance drew exuberant and packed houses.
VIPs Proud to Have Shen Yun in Brisbane
Queensland State Senator Mark Furner
One of the many VIPs attending Shen Yun was Queensland State Senator Mark Furner, who said he was blown away by the show.
“The performance, as a whole, gives insight into Chinese culture, but with a modern twist,” Mr. Furner said. “It was just magnificent—the scenery, the costumes, the colors—vibrant, beautiful, and really mind-blowing!”
He was given a photograph of the Shen Yun Performing Arts members, which he said will “take pride of place” in his Parliament House office.
Mr. Furner said he will tell people who see and comment on the photo, “If they should get an opportunity to see Shen Yun, they should take the opportunity … It’s energizing, it’s vibrant.”
The senator had officially issued the performing arts company a welcome certificate to Brisbane, and wished the company well on upcoming performances in Sydney and Canberra.
Anthony Shorten MP presents a certificate to Shen Yun, Shen Yun artists return with an autographed poster.
Also in the audience was Liberal National Party Anthony Shorten, Member for Algester in the Queensland State Parliament. He, too, presented a certificate to Shen Yun, only this one was “in appreciation for their efforts and bringing joy and happiness to so many people.”
“I have never seen anything like this before, and the way I would describe this would be energizing, full of life and full of color, just beautiful, beautiful colors,” Mr. Shorten exclaimed.
“We all know that China has a very old culture, 5,000-odd years, but Shen Yun modernizes it, opening it up to a wider audience.”
Mr. Shorten noted that not everyone has an interest in Chinese history, and not everyone has an opportunity to travel to China.
“Shen Yun does bring a little bit of that to the stage—but just the magnificent dancing by the performers and the beautiful costumes. They are the memories people will take away with them.”
Gold Coast Councilor Lex Bell Enchanted By Shen Yun
“I thought it was really excellent, very professional,” he said. “The performers were very skilled. The costumes were excellent … it’s very thrilling and I go home very happy.”
Mr. Bell appreciated how Shen Yun presented traditional Chinese culture in a most interesting fashion.
“It wasn’t really a cultural lesson, it was more entertainment, and certainly there’s the culture behind it and yes, I go home more informed than before.”
Also seated in the audience was Brisbane City Councilor Norm Wyndham, who said: “I’m enjoying it, it’s very different,” adding that he particularly appreciated the different styles of dance.
The local government official said that the quality and standard of the Shen Yun dances was excellent.
He commented that he has attended many different dance events and noted that “all countries have a uniqueness to their dance to try to tell their stories—China’s many provinces have many aspects.”
“I’m loving [Shen Yun],” Says LNP Senator Sue Boyce
Australian Senator Sue Boyce
“Australia is a very old land but it’s a very young nation, only 225 years old compared to China’s very long history,” Ms. Boyce said. “I haven’t seen any traditional Chinese dancing before. I’m loving the costumes, and the sets, and the really superb dancing,” she said.
“I think it is important for all of us to know about each others' cultures. I imagine there’s lot of Chinese people that don’t know about their own culture, so I think it’s important for Australians and I think it’s important that all nations understand each others cultures.”
Shen Yun’s Message About Goodness Resonates with Mayor
Shen Yun Performing Arts curtain call at the Lyric Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 2. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate attended the show accompanied by his wife. He said he appreciated the quality of the dances and the variety of the program.
“I think it’s a good mixture between artistry, and also everyone makes it look so easy and they’re light on their feet, but at the same time, every single part, there’s always a message you can take away,” he explained.
Mayor Tate noted that some performances depict the ancient Chinese belief that good is rewarded with good and evil repaid with suffering, which he said he agreed with. He added that this ideology, if practiced by the masses, would greatly improve society.
“Personally I believe that if you do good, you will get good back, so if everyone believes in that, the more chance that everyone will do good and it will make the world a better place.”
The mayor thought that the fact that each performance is introduced by two emcees, one Chinese-speaking and one English-speaking, added to the performance.
“I think the two people who do the introductions, the mixture between talking in English and talking in Chinese, and the humor, it makes you feel connected with the audience.”
Mrs. Tate shared her thoughts on Shen Yun. “I think it’s all been very, very good. I’ve enjoyed everything,” she said. “I think it’s happy, I’m enjoying it, and I feel the happiness and the enthusiasm.”
Each Shen Yun Performer Is “Virtuosic,” Says Theater Actress
The Courtney family enjoy Shen Yun Performing Arts in Brisbane. (Photo courtesy of The Epoch Times)
Courtney Stewart, a theater actress, said that Shen Yun “was really beautiful, so graceful, really visually stimulating.”
Courtney, who was brought her sister Amy to the show, was particularly impressed by the performers skill level and how they seamlessly worked together.
“I thought the performers were really invested in what they were doing, every movement counted, they were really virtuosic. So there was not anyone who stood out as being not as good as anyone else. It was complete uniformity, which was wonderful to see,” she explained.
“Spatial awareness of the other performers is really important, there were no crashes, there were no mistakes–no one made any mistakes that I saw, which is rare in any performance.
“I think as a performer, you should strive to be the best you can. All of the performers in Shen Yun dance company do that. Everyone is operating as the best as they can. They are like super heroes.”
Courtney also noted how the dancers used their handmade costumes to enhance the performance. “The costumes, the movement, the way the movement made the clothes move was really beautiful, and the music was wonderful.”
Amy Stewart, a radio journalist, was equally impressed. “The ability of the dancers to move as a uniform one being; they looked together, it wasn’t haphazard or out of time. It was really fluid and really beautiful,” she said. “Through the movement you could understand the story that was happening.”
Shen Yun's animated backdrops interact with the dancers, adding an extra dimension and theatrical effects.
Amy said, “I really liked the background thing and people were flying down and suddenly they would pop up on the stage, that was something I have never seen before, magical–really, really good.”
She felt that many aspects of traditional Chinese culture were portrayed in the show, making for a complete theatrical performance.
“It wasn’t just the dancing, it was the singing as well, the music, it all gave you a real taste of Chinese culture. We are half Chinese and I have never seen anything like that before in my life, and it was really interesting, beautiful, and really captivating.” She said. “It makes me want to understand more about my heritage.”
When asked if Courtney would recommend Shen Yun to others, she replied, “It’s something not to be missed, it’s something completely unique combining audio visual and singing and dancing. I’ve seen a lot of shows but I’ve never seen anything like this before, so go and see it—definitely.”
Shen Yun Is Spectacular, Says Community Radio Presenter
Diana Andrews, a Community Radio presenter, thought the performance was “outstanding” and “spectacular.”
“I loved the background, the cinematography coming in, the 3-D digital images coming in, meeting the fairies, jumping up onstage, the cast meeting up with the digital, and bringing it forward onstage,” Ms. Andrews explained.
The brilliantly colored handmade costumes are a feature of Shen Yun that delights many viewers.
“The costumes were fantastic, the colors unbelievably beautiful … a wonderful job, breathtakingly beautiful. I haven’t seen anything like that. I have been to a lot of ballets and shows, but that would have to be on my A-list,” she said.
Ms. Andrews learned that classical Chinese dance, which was handed down in the Imperial Court over thousands of years, is the predecessor of many of today’s dance and exercise forms, according to Shen Yun’s website.
“I had no idea that acrobatics traditionally came from China—that was enlightening for me to learn that tonight,” she said.
She described Shen Yun as “traditional, enlightening, spectacularly acrobatic, the hand movements, the way that you’re throwing all these beautiful lotuses around, and the fabric around the choreography was outstanding, really outstanding. I don’t know how to sum it up; I’m lost for words!”
Ms. Andrews felt that the artists were conveying different messages throughout the show. “They conveyed love, peace, forgiveness, let people be in their own way, like the traditional Dao as well,” she said.
“Everybody should spread the word for peace and harmony. I’d recommend it to everybody, from babies to grandparents, it would suit any age and any genre, honestly; it was wonderful.”
Ms. Andrews concluded by saying that she wanted to send a message to the Shen Yun performers.
“Congratulations, your hard work and dedication is evident in the beauty that you gave this audience tonight and this town, Brisbane, Australia. Thank you very much; we appreciate you.”
Chinese Musician: Shen Yun Is China's Only Hope
Mr. Wu is a professional violinist and has been working with music for dozens of years.
Wu admired the Shen Yun Orchestra for its perfect infusion of oriental and Western music instruments, “Especially the composing,” he said.
“It is very difficult to perfectly blend oriental and Western music instruments together, and make them sound harmonious. The Chinese suona and Western trumpet are two fundamentally different sounds, yet they could be smoothly mixed together. Marvelous job!”
Wu said that he has never heard such exquisite dance music.
“I love the pipa, erhu, and flute. The Chinese percussion music greatly enhanced the movement of the dancers. The conductor did a wonderful job in seamlessly connecting the rhythm and strength of the music to the dance movements, which made the dance more dramatic and the meaning of the story more expressive. Absolutely fantastic! I have been involved in music for dozens of years now, and I have never heard such superb dance music while living in China.”
Wu commented on the arts in contemporary China. “The Shen Yun show is not just about top-notch performances. The celestial maidens from ancient China depicted in the show, brought me to a divine realm. I feel that this society is very forgiving and beautiful. Look at China now, what kind of society is that!?
“During the past 60 years, the Chinese Communist Party has systematically ruined the five thousand years of Chinese culture. When people are deprived of the chance to see a performance like Shen Yun, they will gradually forget what true Chinese culture is all about. The invasion of Marxism-Leninism into China has completely destroyed our Chinese culture.”
Wu said that the Chinese traditional culture displayed in Shen Yun, has given him hope for China.
“Shen Yun is the vanguard of Chinese culture. If Shen Yun is allowed to freely perform in China, our ancient culture will quickly be revived without wars and guns. Shen Yun's power is massive! I hope that it can perform in more places.”
“You Can Not See [a Show Like Shen Yun] in China”
Shi Rui is an English teacher from China. She recently moved to Australia.
“I just came here from China and I feel so lucky to have been able to see this show. I am very excited and overwhelmed. There is no way to see such an amazing show like this in China. This is the first time that I've been able to see such a rich and elegant performance. The way the artists carry themselves, their temperament, their charm, you can not find this in China.”
She continued. “I could not hold back my tears during the first program. It felt like I had just seen divine beings; like I was one of them. It was incredibly beautiful. If possible, I want to see it again and again. I will tell my friends and students to come see this fantastic performance.
“The divine culture they portrayed on stage comes from five thousand years of traditional myths and legends. There is a feeling of divinity in each performance, which is very hard to describe. During intermission, I talked to the person sitting next to me, an actor. He told me he was so overwhelmed and impressed because this is the first time in his dancing career that he has seen such an extraordinary performance.
“When he asked me where Shen Yun is based, I told him New York. At the same time, I was wondering, 'How come there are no great shows like this in China?'”
Mei is from Guangdong Province, China. She was so touched by the profound spiritual meaning in the
performances, that she was sobbing while describing the show.
“Thousands of years of culture is more than I could ever… I don't know how to put it. I am just very moved! The show tells us so much. It shows us our ancient culture and how that culture has changed over the years. In China, the Communist regime slanders Falun Gong because, after all, any spiritual practice is prohibited in China. I believe that one day Falun Gong will be embraced throughout China!”