Benefit Dinner to Support Chinese Arts

By Christine Lin
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 6, 2013 Last Updated: February 8, 2013
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Shen Yun Performing Arts' curtain call at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater in April 2012. (Dai BIng/The Epoch Times)

Shen Yun Performing Arts' curtain call at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater in April 2012. (Dai BIng/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—Lovers of Chinese culture will gather at a benefit dinner for Shen Yun Performing Arts on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Shen Yun is a New York-based dance and music company, which has become the premier Chinese cultural event worldwide. For the fourth year this April, Shen Yun will return to Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater.

The upcoming benefit dinner will be an “opportunity for old and new patrons to come together to celebrate the continued mission of Shen Yun,” said Pia-Maria Norris, benefit co-chair. 

When Shen Yun began, it was one company, and in a few short years grew to three dance companies and three orchestras, totaling some 300 artists. Each year, Shen Yun tours 20 countries and 100 cities. Its rapid growth is due to the dedicated artistic talent it has attracted to its ranks, its glowing audience reviews, and a small and passionate base of donors.

Norris became passionate about the performing arts company when she discovered the show’s mission to revive traditional Chinese values.

“I’ve always been interested in China,” she said. “Through friends I came to know Shen Yun, and I was very moved by both the inner meaning and beauty of their performances.

“There’s a lot of wisdom to be learned from Chinese culture, and especially now, since China is perpetually on the map; it is crucial for everyone to understand what is true traditional Chinese culture pre-communist rule. The traditional values in Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism form the basis of Chinese culture and have been its foundations throughout history.

“Shen Yun is not only an extraordinarily beautiful performance, but also an educational one. All the pieces are based on the myths and legends drawn from China’s long history—so as you can imagine, they have quite a repertoire to draw from each year! Like Robert Stromberg, the production designer of the movie ‘Avatar,’ said: ‘It is like seeing a movie and theater in one night.’”

At $500 a head, the benefit dinner will be the first held to support the massive operations involved in producing this annual all-new show.

“It’s a huge production—they currently have three companies touring the world, and all the costumes are handmade,” Norris said. “The costumes alone involve a huge cost, so it is of course important to get broader support from people who cherish these talented artists, their hard work, and extraordinary mission,” she said.

The upcoming benefit will include a silent auction of various luxury items—travel packages, gourmet food, fashion, women’s handbags, and art. Patrons will also be treated to the cooking of Executive Chef Gary Eisenberg of the 3 West Club, where the dinner will be held, and of Chef Agostino von Hassell.

The benefit committee consists of people from the fields of finance, arts, fashion, business, and politics, all with the desire to revive traditional Chinese culture.

“Shen Yun has had an extraordinary impact on the arts of the city,” Norris said. “I remember, for example, that after Shen Yun came to New York, there was all of a sudden so much color in the fashion collections the following season. The arts community is looking very closely at this performing company.” 

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