SALFORD, United Kingdom—Being directors of a youth musical theater company, Jason Ashworth and Rachel Ashworth-Jerem have seen many performances. But attending Shen Yun Performing Arts at the The Lowry Salford was a new experience for them—and an inspiration.
“It’s the first sort of show of this kind that I’ve seen. So it was an eye-opener for me, for sure,” said Ashworth, who is a musical director and a professional pianist.
He loved the colours of the costumes and appreciated the skill of the Shen Yun orchestra musicians, who blend Eastern and Western instruments together to create a unique sound.
“You could hear the pentatonic scales, which come from the Chinese, Asian, culture as well coming through,” Ashworth said. “It’s got … a completely different make up to Western music. It’s very interesting.”
He found the sound of the large orchestra was particularly enjoyable. “I think the volume throughout was perfect. The professionalism, the way they played, it was spot on too,” he said.
The April 17 performance was Shen Yun’s first of a five-show run at The Lowry Salford, and their first back in the UK, having previously performed in various UK cities in January as part of their world tour.
Shen Yun’s mission is to “revive the true, divinely inspired culture of China and share it with the world,” according to their website.
Each Shen Yun performance is centred around classical Chinese dance, an ancient and uniquely expressive art-form that allows the dancers to vividly portray stories from China’s 5,000 years of history, retell myths and legends, and capture the cultural essence of the multiple ethnic groups of China.
Ashworth-Jerem, who is a choreographer herself, felt that the dancers brought to life this traditional Chinese culture.
“The aura of the dancers and the pride that they have, I think that came through as well as their culture,” she said.
She was impressed by the clever use of costumes in the dances, such as the flowing sleeves of the female dancers, and the way the music complemented the story-telling.
Both were impressed and intrigued by the innovative interaction between the performers and the digital backdrop—a technique that Shen Yun has proudly patented.
“The projected images was very clever, from them jumping into the projection,” said Ashworth-Jerem. “I thought that was very effective.”
Overall, Shen Yun proved to be an inspirational experience, and they could see the dedication of all involved.
“It was impeccable,” said Ashworth. “The professionalism, it’s great. So more power to them!”
With reporting from Jane Gray and Kat Piper.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time and has covered audience reactions since the company’s inception in 2006.