On Jan. 7 and 8, Birmingham’s International Convention Centre welcomed dancers and musicians from Shen Yun Performing Arts.
“Spectacular, colorful, beautiful,” said company CEO Simon Wickes of the performance.
“It’s very sort of ordered, very disciplined, the way all the dancers are. And yet, it’s not mechanical. They make it look very beautiful,” Mr. Wickes said.
Simon Slidel, HR director of a hotel, said he was mesmerized by the performance.
“It just gets to you. You’re just absolutely mesmerized by the colors and costumes and the way everybody moves altogether, synchronized. It gives you a tingly feeling,” he said.
Leah Yates, the principal of a dance academy, also watched one of the performances in Birmingham.
“It was exquisite and absolutely breathtaking. I would love, absolutely love, to be able to choreograph myself to that standard,” Ms. Yates said.
5,000 Years of Chinese Culture
Hailing from New York, Shen Yun has become the world’s premier classical Chinese dance group.
Each performance is story-based, bringing to life the 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture on stage.
The depth of China’s culture was a surprise for company owner Karen Hutchinson.
“I didn’t know there was so much culture in China. I didn’t realize that different areas had a different culture and different dances and how they express themselves in China,” Ms. Hutchinson said.
“It was amazing when they were talking about how far it went back as well, how far music has had a massive impact in China from very early on,” she said.
Mr. Slidel was also taken by the culture depicted in the performances and how it relates today.
“It was amazing. I got absolutely immersed in the culture of China,” Mr. Slidel said.
“It’s really important to think that history is always being made, so for me, it’s also about what is happening now, and how in a hundred years, two hundred years, a thousand years, that is going to become history, so people will see that as well. So I think that’s really good to put that into a performance.”
According to Shen Yun’s website, the heroic figures presented epitomize the noblest virtues of Chinese civilization. They also communicate moral values that are relevant to modern society.
“It’s really good to understand that behind everything that is happening, there are always traditions,” Mr Slidel said.
“[Tradition] takes you back to basics. It gives you the basic fundamentals of what humans should be and what they should believe in.”
‘Message for the Soul’
Douglas Andrew Laird, owner and founder of Peak Care in North Derbyshire, welcomed Shen Yun’s spiritual aspects.
“This brings the grace of God, the grace of the Divine into living expression, in the dance and the movement and the color,” Mr. Laird said.
“Everything about it was a living portrayal of the beauty of life,” he said.
“I think that’s a message for the soul to use our physique in a way that’s graceful, and not hard and rigid, and life is meant to be a flow.”
Shen Yun’s season runs through May, with eight troupes performing simultaneously in more than 180 cities around the world.
NTD News, Birmingham, the U.K.