Birthday Gift of Shen Yun Brings Arizonians to Columbus

Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 9, 2013 Last Updated: February 10, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio—Heidi Griggs’ parents from Columbus treated her to an usual birthday present: a ticket to Shen Yun Performing Arts’s performance at the Ohio Theatre on Feb. 9.

“It was amazing. I liked the dancing and the singing,” Mrs. Griggs said.

“Yes, it’s very fluid,” agreed Mr. Griggs.

Shen Yun brings traditional Chinese music and dance to the world as they aim to restore 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture, according to their website.

Accompanying Heidi was her husband Adam Griggs. The couple traveled from Tuscan, Ariz. to see the performance with Heidi’s folks. Mrs. Griggs works for JA Knapp Agency from Tuscan, an insurance company established in 1988 by her father, John Knapp. 

At the heart of New York-based Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, a highly developed system that was passed down over thousands of years through the imperial courts. Audiences typically find the dancing very graceful.

“It wasn’t what I was expecting in the way the movement was and the singing,” Mrs. Griggs said.

“We didn’t quite realize that some of the basis for the flips and stuff actually were derived from Chinese dance,” Mr. Griggs said. He learn that gymnastics grew out of classical Chinese dance.

Mrs. Griggs mentioned one dance that caught her attention, An Early Spring, folk dance. It is also part of the mission to Shen Yun—to bring ethnic and folks dances to the world.

In it, dancers’ twirl handkerchiefs to evoke the change of seasons. “And the movements with the little [handkerchiefs]. They throw them and catch them while flipping,” she said.

Mr. Griggs enjoyed the vocal artists singing Chinese songs in the bel canto style being included in Shen Yun’s program. “I am a fan of opera myself. I am actually an amateur country singer,” he said.

He found the lyrics poetic, and was interested in their spirituality. They reminded him of short poems he’d read in college.

“The orchestra was amazing, I don’t think I missed a single note. I liked it really well,” he said of the sound created by Shen Yun’s orchestra, a combination of both Eastern and Western instruments.

“It was fluid, it all went together really well. You wouldn’t think so, but … they can actually show that they can blend, so I liked it,” Mr. Griggs said.

Mr. Griggs would tell his friends to see the performance: “It was a very interesting show. It was definitely a fun night. It was relaxing and fun, which is hard to find” these days.

As for Mrs. Griggs, she thanked her parents for the gift and added, “Take me again.”

With reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit

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