SYDNEY, Australia—Lauren and Gina Davison were left with a sense of hope and of being part of a shared humanity across cultures and countries when the husband and wife experienced Shen Yun Performing Arts at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre on April 9.
Mrs. Davison waited two years to see the New York-based Shen Yun after being disappointed when the emergence of the pandemic cut short the production’s 2020 tour.
But she kept an eye out for new tour dates and snapped up her tickets when its 2022 Sydney run was announced.
“It’s been worth the wait,” she said, adding: “I just love all of it. I love the blossom dance.”
Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance company, and along with folk dances and solo performances, the production depicts story-based pieces that tell tales from ancient times right up to modern-day China.
Mr. Davison, who professed his love for the colours on display in each scene, was struck by a scene that he called “water sleeves.”
“I just thought it was very nice. [I] quite liked the flow, the rhythm, and the fluidity. I just thought it was very nice,” he said.
Shen Yun had a “visual impact” on Mr. Davison, who, despite having offices in China, wasn’t as familiar with the country’s traditional culture as his wife. But nevertheless, he found the performance to be “very exciting.”
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive China’s 5,000-year-old traditional culture after it came close to death under the tyranny of communism since the seizure of power by the Chinese communist regime in 1949. Shen Yun says its performance this year demonstrates “China before communism.”
Mrs. Davison was uplifted by the messages conveyed in Shen Yun’s performance: “The peace. The opportunity for growth, divinity, strength, courage. I just loved all of it. It gives us hope.”
The husband and wife brought three of their eight children along, with Mrs. Davison saying she wanted to “open their eyes to the culture and the experience” of Shen Yun.
“It’s given a message of hope,” Mrs. Davison said.
“We’re all one family,” Mr. Davison chimed in, adding to what his wife said.
“Yes, we’re all one family. Everyone,” Mrs. Davison agreed.
Mr. Davison, who is the Asia-Pacific group financial controller for Reno Tip Top, a large company that supplies solutions to the resources and automotive industries, said that Shen Yun will “open people’s eyes” and give them a new perspective on China.
“I don’t think people know a lot about China other than what’s shown on TV or maybe what they hear on social media. But I think it will open their eyes to the culture, the history, in China,” he said.
Mr. Davison encouraged people who might not know about Shen Yun to go along and experience the performance.
“Go for it. Give it a go. Open your mind. Open your eyes. Give it a go,” he said.
Penelope Beveridge, a nutritionist, who resonates with China’s rich, ancient spiritual heritage, was struck by Shen Yun’s depiction of life in modern-day China under the atheistic communist regime.
Mrs. Beveridge was left feeling heartbroken by a scene in Shen Yun that depicts a Falun Dafa practitioner being killed for her organs in China.
“Heartbreaking. The story showed a 16-year-old girl whose organs were removed because she wanted to meditate. That’s wrong. That’s criminal. It should not be happening,” she said.
Along with myths and legends, Shen Yun presents story-based scenes of present-day life for Falun Dafa practitioners, who live by moral teachings based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance and practice simple meditative exercises. The group is persecuted in China.
“It’s been going on for far too long, and with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, it’s very important people understand and have freedom of speech, that they have freedom of choice, and being able to practise what they believe in,” Sean Beveridge said, of the persecution of Falun Dafa.
Experiencing Shen Yun was “special” for Mr. and Mrs. Beveridge, who fondly remember coming across Falun Dafa in Sydney’s Chinatown around 20 years ago.
Shen Yun utilises a cutting-edge patented digital backdrop that allows audiences to see beyond the stage into the ancient wonders of China and even scenes in the heavens.
Mr. Beveridge, an IT licence compliance manager, was in awe of how the production came together, saying he loved “everything about it.”
“The colours. I mean, the music’s absolutely divine. And the timing of the back screen and everything about it is lovely,” he said, referring to how Shen Yun dancers interact with the digital backdrop.
Reporting by NTD, and Caden Pearson.