HOUSTON—Shen Yun Performing Arts bade farewell to Jones Hall for the Performing Arts after a 10-show run ending on New Year’s Day, 2013.
Co-president at Ivy Kids, Laila Bandali, found the world’s premier classical Chinese and music company’s presentation mesmerizing, from the minute the curtain opened.
She said at intermission, “I thought that the first piece was really spiritual, and the dancers are just beautiful, their facial expressions are really, really fantastic to watch. We really, really enjoyed it so far.”
In the opening dance, Descending to the World, a heavenly host has gathered to hear the Lord Buddha, who calls upon them to descend with him to Earth to make a magnificent history for humankind.
“I think in the very first piece with the Buddha…the colors were so vibrant and beautiful, everything’s stuck in my mind and I can still sit back imagining that,” Mrs. Bandali said.
Mrs. Bandali was with her husband Al Bandali, who is also co-president at Ivy Kids, an early learning center they founded and own in Houston.
Mr. Bandali said, “We came here expecting a lot, and I think we are getting what we expected.”
Based in New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts was established in 2006 with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of China’s divinely inspired culture, the company website cites.
In a collection of short pieces, audiences travel from the legends of the culture’s creation over 5,000 years ago, through to the story of Falun Dafa in China today.
The ancient Falun Dafa meditation practice is reflected in the dance piece, An Unexpected Encounter, choreographed by Michelle Ren.
“Yes … the scene where the little girl was in the park with her dad taking pictures, and all the oppression that they were facing. We learned something about [traditional Chinese] culture in that way, in how good can fight [evil],” Mrs. Bandali said.
At the core of Shen Yun’s performances is classical Chinese dance with China’s numerous ethnic and folk dance styles, which Mr. Bandali enjoyed.
“All the different ethnicities up there, the many different ethnic dances. It was very good,” he said, making special mention of the Mongolian dance.
In the Mongolian Bowl Dance, also choreographed by Michelle Ren, Mongolian women emerge balancing bowls on their heads in a dance of welcome. Traditional Mongolian dance is strong yet gentle, with flexible wrists, pliable arms, and a signature shoulder shake, according to the program.
Reporting by Mei Zhong and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
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 in Dallas through Jan. 3. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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