ATLANTA—Ms. Michelle Goldman, a ballet teacher, attended the Shen Yun evening performance at the Cobb Energy Centre in Atlanta on Jan.6.
“It’s exciting … gorgeous, super colorful. I love it,” she said.
Classical Chinese Dance is the most comprehensive dance system in the world. Apart from perfecting complicated leaps, jumps, spins, and exquisite postures, the dancers must also incorporate the inner spirit of Chinese heritage.
The dancers spend years working on this inner spirit, also known as “yun” or bearing. Bearing includes the dancers’ gestures, intent, demeanor, and deep emotional expression.
“I’ve grown up going to ballets, but seeing ethnic Chinese dance is really good,” she said. “I love the choreography, I really do.”
Shen Yun’s dances are accompanied by a live orchestra that combines Eastern and Western instruments.
“It makes all the difference in the world to have a live orchestra,” said Ms. Goldman.
The orchestra includes various classical Chinese instruments, such as the erhu. The erhu is commonly known as the “Chinese violin”— except it only has two strings and its bow is fixed to the instrument. The instrument can capture a wide range of human emotions, especially stirring and somber ones.
“The dancers are absolutely gorgeous. I’m enjoying every second of this, including the piano and singing, I love that,” Ms. Goldman said.
Shen Yun’s vocalists sing with the bel canto technique, which is very difficult to perform while singing Chinese lyrics because it requires an extra focus on diction and articulation.
The melodies and lyrics are original compositions, reflecting the traditional Chinese philosophical reflections.
Unfortunately, this show cannot be seen in China today. Shen Yun Performing Arts was founded in 2006 by a group of overseas artists, who hoped to revive traditional Chinese culture after it was destroyed during the cultural revolution from 1966-1976.
Mr. Luke Pott’s father gave them both Shen Yun tickets as a surprise. “I had plans but I dropped everything to come, thinking, ‘at last!’ said Ms. Goldman.
Reporting by Mary Silver and Amelia Pang.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will be performing at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre from Jan. 8-9. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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