PITTSBURGH—On a chilly Saturday afternoon at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, audience members of all ages and backgrounds were treated to an unexpected display of traditional Chinese culture.
William Lafe, retired from running his own consulting business for non-profit organizations, watched Shen Yun Performing Arts with partner Carol Hochman.
“I had no knowledge of what it would be like and the sort of the stories, the folk stories that are woven into the dance, and the costumes are quite amazing,” Mr. Lafe said.
Shen Yun Performing Arts is based out of New York, with the aim to revitalize 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.
Shen Yun roughly translates to “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” and brings the virtues of China’s ancient culture to life through dance and music—steeped in a belief that the inner beauty and purity of each performer reflects through their art.
Mr. Lafe is especially involved in the arts in Pittsburgh. Namely, he acted as the chair of the Three Rivers Arts Festival, was on the board of the Pittsburgh Music Society and the MillerDance. He also directs a nonprofit organization that promotes Czech heritage, Friends of Via.
“I loved [the performance], it was terrific, it was terrific, it was quite unexpected and it was quite amazing,” Mr. Lafe said.
A unique feature of Shen Yun is the performances drawn from the stories and legends of China’s history. Audiences get a glimpse of China’s long lost dynasties, as well as contemporary scenes.
“It’s very wonderful, it’s transporting you into another world of stories and thoughts that are unique…to the Chinese culture, that we don’t know,” Ms. Hochman said.
Ms. Hochman, who retired from teaching education at the University of Pittsburg, is also a former Honorary Consul of Czech Republic in Pittsburg. An honorary consul is a citizen volunteer who represents a foreign government that doesn’t have a formal Consulate General.
“The perfection of the dancers, and the beauty of the music, it’s woven together very beautifully,” Mrs. Hochman said.
Reporting by Madalina Hubert and Kristina Skorbach
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform in Pittsburg until Feb. 3. 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
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 21 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.