Australia: Sydney Theatregoers Moved to Tears by Classical Chinese Culture: "A Deeper and Higher Level of Understanding"

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The Parade Theatre in Kensington, Sydney, was packed for the opening show of the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts show on Sunday, April 19th.

In the audience was a high school student from China who has been in Australia for about a year and a half. She watched the show wide-eyed and said, "I have gained a better understanding of China's culture, past and present. When I was in China, I was very unclear about these things, or had some understanding but not very deep. But, after watching this show I have a better, deeper, and higher level of understanding."

A high school student from China

"I think I'm still young and therefore love things that tell a story. For example, Jigong ["Monk Jigong Abducts the Bride"] and Mulan ["Mulan Joins the Battle"] - I understand [the meaning of] those. In China, I heard those stories. Before, I had only encountered Mulan in cartoons. Now, I have a much deeper understanding of the culture. In mainland China you are given only one rigid path to follow, but when you are abroad, you can understand some things from many angles."

She left the show with a deeper understanding of her ancestors' culture and knowledge that had been hidden from her in the past.

Production Manager: An Insight into Ancient Chinese Culture

Production manager Adrian and his wife were pleased to have had the opportunity to see the show. "Absolutely fantastic, very impressed, indeed," he said. "I was stunned by the backgrounds."

Adrian's wife was also blown away by the background images. "Brilliant, absolutely fantastic. In fact, I'm watching it very carefully. It really is excellent. It adds another dimension to the entire performance. The performers are the stars, but it adds another dimension."

"It gives you an insight into Chinese culture centuries ago. It's just amazing," Adrian said.

He commented, "It would be nice to think that, especially from the Chinese point of view, a lot of the young ones today - it helps them to relearn their culture, especially if they have been [living] in a Western country for most of their lives."

His wife agreed, "It just shows that there's so much history in the Chinese culture. It really gives you a good insight into how important the background of Chinese culture is."

Mark, an architect of a high-rise residential area, was also in the audience. Mark said he was quite moved by the dance "Heaven Awaits Us Despite Persecution," where a father was persecuted to death for practicing Falun Gong. "It was quite emotional. It's sad, but it's also happy. You can withstand a lot of persecution if you have a strong mind and strong belief. I thought that was one of the strongest stories I could relate to, the modern story. I knew the message already. It was just an interesting way of expressing it in the dance."

Moved to Tears

Mr. Stewart was overwhelmed by the performance. "I've got tears in my eyes, and they're coming from the heart," he said. His daughter bought him a ticket to see the world renowned Shen Yun as a present for his 77th birthday.

"From where I stand, it was absolutely overpowering. So beautiful. I had to rethink all my knowledge of music, being born in Melbourne and growing up in Australia and Westernized. I've not touched any music like this before - just incredible, overpowering."

Just thinking about the dance, "Welcoming Spring," brought tears to his eyes even while speaking about it afterwards. "It really hit me. It is a lovely time of year, the rebirth of things. ... The whole performance, the production, the music, the dancing, the atmosphere, the colours - everything was just incredibly beautiful. I've got tears in my eyes, and they're coming from the heart. This is something revelatory, something new - come out of the blue."

Mr. Stewart's daughter said, "I wanted to bring Dad when I saw the show being advertised. It's Dad's birthday tomorrow, so I thought this was something he would get a lot out of, the culture and the history, and the music - it was beautiful. I couldn't add much more than what he has already said. Very touching, very beautiful."

Graphic Designer Loves China's Classical Culture and History

Mr. Guido, a corporate events graphic designer, shared his feelings. "I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I'm very impressed with the colours and the vibrancy of the show. And I love the history, their history and their culture that's displayed through dance. It's quite spectacular. What can I say? We're really, really enjoying ourselves tonight," he said, chuckling and looking quite pleased at having made the decision to come.

"I actually enjoyed the monkey. ["The Monkey King Triumphs"] It was very entertaining. And the fact that there's a story behind the dance, and it's not just dance for the sake of dance. A lot of Western dance is just purely dance. But this is incorporating both the culture and the traditional and the movement. And what I'm enjoying is the story behind every dance. I think it's wonderful. I think it's lovely."

Because he is a graphic designer, the artist in him responded to the beauty of the entire show. "I see it as a whole. They've managed to put so many components together and make it such a beautiful thing to watch. The dance is fantastic, the singing is fantastic. ... It's just an all-around wonderful experience."


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