Shen Yun Performing Arts' debut to St. Petersburg at the Mahaffey Theatre, the Progress Energy Centre on January 29th was greeted by an enthusiastic audience. Amongst them was Nannette, a US government administrator who, along with her mother, found the New York-based show to be a profoundly moving experience.
"We thought that it was absolutely wonderful - the costuming, the colouring and all the flowing of the outfits, and just the dance in itself with the different music - we really enjoyed that," she said. "We feel, mom and I, that the Asian culture is a very calming type of culture."
"My favorite is that two-stringed [instrument], the erhu. It just makes you feel very happy. It's very satisfying," she said referring to erhu soloist virtuoso Xiaochun Qi, who makes the ancient Chinese instrument speak a thousand words in otherworldly tones.
She found moving the visually stunning story-based dance that touches on the brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners still taking place in China. In two of the dances, Nothing Can Block the Divine Path and Astounding Conviction, the brutality inflicted upon those who practice this ancient spiritual discipline is revealed in dance.
"We realise that it's different in China than what it is with freedom that we have in America, so I can understand the difficulties that we have in [understanding] that," she said.
She said seeing this made her appreciate her own country's ideology, freedom of belief, freedom of speech, freedom of association.
She said it was unfortunate that the Chinese people do not have the freedom of speech that is enjoyed in the US. "As Americans, it's really difficult to understand that, because you know, we can say whatever we want," she said, appreciatively.
"It's difficult because we do have so much freedom here, that in other countries, you don't have the same type of freedoms as we have. So, maybe with the turn of the tide, things will change - we hope."
In conclusion she shared that Shen Yun's performance will be etched in her heart and mind for a long while to come.
"Absolutely! I want the music. We want to buy the music."
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