Monday, 27 March 2017

A True Must-See: Shen Yun at Sydney Lyric Theatre

If you can make it to only one show a year, let Shen Yun be your show of choice. And for Australians, the company’s 7-day run at Sydney Lyric Theatre 28 March-2 is the best time to see this one-of-a-kind performance.

Since its inception, this classical Chinese dance company has taken off with, literally, flying colors. The pageantry of dance and music is a stunning display of Chinese civilization—with dancers spinning and leaping through the air in brilliant handmade costumes that take your breath away.

Shen Yun Performing Arts was established by a group of talented ethnic Chinese artists who came together with a shared vision—to revive genuine traditional culture and share it with the world. And as soon as it started touring in 2006, Shen Yun was an instant success.

By now, Shen Yun has toured to over 100 cities worldwide, performing in front of millions across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. One of its trademarks is that each new season the company creates a brand-new production, which remains secret until the day the curtain finally rises.

More Than Entertainment

But sheer popularity is not the only reason why you should experience Shen Yun. Perhaps because of its profound mission, watching Shen Yun gives you the feeling of partaking in something historic, in the resurrection of a long lost world. It is the world of ancient China, the Middle Kingdom that can no longer be seen even in China today. It is a world where divine beings and humans interact, a magical world of myth and legend.

And it is a world that speaks a universal language. The performance includes bilingual MCs who provide brief preludes to each story. But more importantly, classical Chinese dance and music speak directly to the heart, resonating with the audience on many levels.

Many audience reviews speak of leaving the theater with indescribable happiness, inspiration, even a newfound sense of peace.

The performance “touched the deepest part of my soul,” wrote Maria Banks from Los Angeles in one review posted on Shen Yun’s guestbook. “Shortly after returning home, my tears broke through again and again. It feels as though my heart’s been washed clean. Gratefully yours.”

“Brilliant. Mind-blowing,” another wrote after watching Shen Yun in Toronto. “Heavenly music and dance evoke a land of purity, where the good always prevails.”

Not Made in China

“Actually in China today, you can no longer see performances of genuine traditional Chinese culture,” says principal dancer and choreographer Yungchia Chen. Chen grew up in China, later moved to Taiwan, won numerous awards throughout his dancing career, and finally found his calling with Shen Yun.

“Shen Yun is making every effort to bring back the most authentic, most beautiful part of Chinese culture—through dance,” he says. “For example, the story of a mother tattooing four words on her son’s back is about loyalty. The legend of splitting the mountain is about filial piety, and the tale of Wu Song battling the tiger is about courageously helping others.”

Five Millennia on Stage

“There are countless stories in the 5,000 years of Chinese civilization,” Chen says. “The challenge is to find stories you can depict on stage. In a play, actors can speak, but in dance you have just a few minutes to tell a story, and do so with clarity in a moving way.”

Year after year, Chen and his colleagues succeed in doing just that. Shen Yun’s performances have become a staple for many celebrities and veteran theatergoers alike. The company’s success has also attracted a constant stream of new talent.

Shen Yun is home to an impressive number of artists from around the world. And these artists take Shen Yun’s mission to heart. This can be seen in their energy and joyful enthusiasm on stage, as well as their seamless cooperation, the type that can only arise from a common sense of greater purpose.

“When dancing, sometimes there is an instant when you feel like our hearts are all together, united,” says Shen Yun choreographer Michelle Ren. “That moment is really sacred,” she says, “and in it, you can see pure beauty.”

Shen Yun will be performing at Sydney Lyric Theatre 28 March-2 April. Tickets and information at:

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