NEW YORK—As the sold-out performance at Lincoln Center concluded on Sunday afternoon, Shen Yun Performing Arts encountered a familiar situation—a standing ovation, and three curtain calls.
“It’s an extraordinary production,” said Oleg Briansky, a lifelong ballet dancer and founder and director of Briansky Ballet Center. “It’s superb entertainment—wonderful entertainment—beautifully rehearsed, and beautifully staged.”
It’s an extraordinary production … It’s superb entertainment—wonderful entertainment—beautifully rehearsed, and beautifully staged.
New York-based Shen Yun is on a mission: to revive 5,000 years of Chinese culture—and its principals such as benevolence, wisdom, sincerity, and a reverence for the gods and the heavens—after more than 60 years of communist rule in China nearly decimated it.
“In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from the Himalayas to tropical lake-filled regions; from the legends of the culture’s creation over 5,000 years ago through to the story of Falun Dafa in China today; from the highest heavens down to the dusty plateaus of the Middle Kingdom,” says Shen Yun’s website.
“As far as the tradition goes, I think it’s wonderful to be able to recreate that here in this country and all over the world,” said Mr. Briansky, who, with a keen eye for dance, noted the genuine classical Chinese dance, the core of a Shen Yun performance.
“I think they’re beautifully trained, very well trained,” he said. “They’re light on their feet.”
“Classical Chinese dance is a culture left to us by the ancients who came before us; its beauty should be riches shared by all of humanity, its purity should not be contaminated,” says Shen Yun’s website. “Shen Yun Performing Arts’ dance style is built upon classical Chinese dance as a foundation, while also maintaining a number of ethnic and folk dances. This combination embodies Chinese people’s estheticism and ethnic character.”
Mr. Briansky liked the projected digital backdrop very much, enjoying the times it became interactive, particularly during the story-based dance, How the Monkey King Came to Be, that is derived from a classic Chinese novel.
“It’s very well done. It’s the child in me,” he said chuckling, “it’s very nice.”
Mr. Briansky also enjoyed the performance Joyful Little Monks, a humorous dance that portrays apprentice monks cleaning a temple.
Handcrafted costumes, from the warrior’s helmet and armor to the civil official’s headdress and robes are another aspect of Shen Yun, which Mr. Briansky found “beautiful.” Attire from ethnic groups such as the Manchurians, Tibetans, and Mongolians are included in the wide-ranging, colorful costuming.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen it,” said Mr. Briansky, “and I’m very, very pleased.”His wife and fellow dance instructor Mireille Briansky also praised the performance.
“It was very well done, and the dancers were very good. The technique and the ensemble was fabulous, the costumes, the lighting, [and] the music was also good,” she said. “Everything was perfect.”
Reporting by Pamela Tsai and Zack Stieber.
Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will next perform at Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island, Jan. 19.
They will return to New York’s Lincoln Center Apr. 18-22.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.