NASHVILLE, Tenn.—When Shen Yun International Company opened a four-show series on Feb. 15, one businesswoman felt her horizons expand.
Standing in the lobby of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center with friend Barbara McDaniel, Moren Adenubi said Shen Yun was wonderful.
She said she had not been aware of how much influence classical Chinese dance has had around the world. “There was a lot I didn’t know about the history of the dance movements.”
“Classical Chinese dance has a long history of thousands of years, and while soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty, it has become a complete system of dance embodying traditional aesthetic principles,” the Shen Yun website states.
Ms. Adenubi was amused by the comical moves in When Shaolin Monks Protected the Emperor and pleased that Shen Yun showcases the ethnic minorities of China. The 2013 Shen Yun performance includes Bai, Mongolian, Yi, Tibetan, and Han (the majority ethnicity) dances.
It is valuable for all cultures to keep their historic traditions alive when traditions are dying out or becoming homogenized, said Ms. Adenubi, who owns a real estate company.
Ms. McDaniel, an interviewer for the state, said she was pleased that Shen Yun includes contemporary history. “I appreciate the fact that they brought it out that in their culture they are not allowed to do that any more,” she said, referring to the expression and practice of spiritual and cultural traditions.
Shen Yun’s mission is to revive the 5,000-year-old divinely inspired civilization of China. During the Cultural Revolution and since, the communist regime has suppressed China’s traditional culture.
“You can see that there is a little bit of turmoil, people being held back, people fighting for what they believe,” Ms. McDaniel said. For example, the dance An Unexpected Encounter portrays tourists stumbling into a China the tour guides would not want them to see, according to the masters of ceremonies.
Ms. Adenubi felt it was an artistic success: “They did a good job. Keep it up, definitely.”
The costumes were “magnificent—the costumes’ colors, the way they used them,” Ms. McDaniels said, referring to the way the costumes were integrated with the choreography. “I really enjoyed them very much.”
“Shen Yun’s costume artists collect countless designs of traditional attire, ranging from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of the common people,” according to the Shen Yun website. “They use bright colors to tailor and recreate hundreds of new pieces each season. Every detail is given meticulous attention and is a result of artistic inspiration and careful polishing.”
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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