PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Shen Yun Performing Arts wowed theatergoers with the sights and sounds of authentic Chinese culture and stories in Providence on Tuesday.
Marcia Spindell, a former dancer and currently a dance movement therapist, praised Shen Yun’s use of classical Chinese dance to tell folktales and stories after its performance at the Providence Performing Arts Center.
Shen Yun uses classical Chinese dance—one of the most comprehensive systems in the world, complete with its own movements, bearing, and form—to convey the inner meaning of Chinese culture, which was mostly lost over the past six decades during communist rule, according to the company’s website.
“I love the dance and the folk stories and the stories that are coming through the dance,” Ms. Spindell said.
Many of the “mini-drama pieces” in Shen Yun touch on classic legends and historical accounts: from the Yellow Emperor, who is said to have created Chinese culture 5,000 years ago, to the Tang and Song Dynasties, the New York-based company’s website said.
There are several pieces that touch on current social issues in China that Ms. Spindell though was relevant—namely the persecution of practitioners of Falun Gong, a type of traditional meditation practice.
“I think for many reasons we forget about the freedoms we have here,” she said.
Ms. Spindell said Shen Yun’s costumes, considered an integral part of the performance, were gorgeous. The costumes are handmade and are inspired from various Chinese dynasties and ethnic groups.
The dance company’s digital backdrop, which is used to project colorful scenery, was described by Ms. Spindell as “wonderful.” The backdrop is interactive, full of movement, and shows various scenes, including mountaintops, the heavens, ancient Chinese imperial courts, and others.
“I love everything about it,” she said.
Each dance piece is backed by a unique orchestra that joins Western and Chinese instrumentation. The orchestra uses Western classical music as a base and leads with the Chinese instruments, according to the company’s website.
“I happen to like the combination of Western and Eastern music,” Ms. Spindell said. “I love that.”
Reporting by Stephanie Lam and Jack Phillips.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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