HOUSTON—“It’s wonderfully great,” Sheree Thanars, owner of an upscale concierge service, said of Shen Yun Performing Arts first of ten shows in Houston at the Jones Hall for the Performing Arts on Dec. 26.
“The costumes are amazing, the colors and the contrasts—it’s wonderful, I haven’t seen anything like it,” Ms. Thanars said.
The New York-based company opened to a full house Wednesday, having just finishing performing in Argentina.
The costumes the Shen Yun performers don are an authentic presentation of China’s divinely inspired traditional culture, according to its website. The designers create a rich array of attire. They portray characters from emperors to the common people and members of various ethnicities, and fashion artistic costumes tailored to each dance.
“From the movements and what they were doing, I could feel what they were saying in dance and song, and it told a story,” Ms. Thanars said.
Ms. Thanars said she was touched by the various stories presenting the 5,000 years of Chinese culture, and the “hope for a better future.”
Ms. Thanars felt the culture and stories were relatable to other people’s lives as well. “Especially if they’re open minded, to what they’re trying to say to them as a people, I think they could identify with everything they’re going through,” Ms. Thanars said.
Also in the audience were Robert Lathon and Blada Mitchell, who discovered Shen Yun after attending an opera, and were pleasantly surprised by how much they learned about Chinese history.
“It’s entertaining, but it’s also got some history that may not be well known,” Mr. Lathon said. “[There’s] more to it than has been revealed to the West.”
Shen Yun’s original choreography features classical Chinese dance and ethnic and folk dances, and many of the dances tell a story. The stories span from legends of the Shaolin monks protecting the first emperor of the Tang Dynasty to present-day battles of good and evil in China.
Mr. Lathon appreciated the inclusion of issues in China today in the performance, such as in the dance An Unexpected Encounter. In the dance, a father and daughter tour through China and encounter a trio of people holding a banner reading “Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance,” who are practicing a spiritual discipline known as Falun Dafa. An Unexpected Encounter touches on the subject of the ongoing persecution of the practice in mainland China, but ultimately presents hope.
“I loved it,” Ms. Mitchell said. “They should definitely do that kind of stuff a lot more here.”
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 Houston through January 1.
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 Houston through January 1. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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