ATLANTA—Ballet, modern and classical Chinese dancer and choreographer Sandra Shih Parks just finished making a documentary on Chinese dance. The Kennesaw State University (KSU) faculty member saw the Shen Yun Performing Arts evening performance with her husband, Chris Parks, and her parents from Taiwan on Jan. 6 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
Based in New York and founded in 2006, Shen Yun has the mission to revive “5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture,” according to the company’s website.
“At the core of Shen Yun’s performances is classical Chinese dance with China’s numerous ethnic and folk dance styles rounding out the evening,” according to its website.
“It’s refreshing to see live on stage here in the States,” she said. “I think it’s a wonderful tool for people to understand Chinese culture and Chinese dances.”
Mr. Shi said they have known of Shen Yun for a while now, because Shen Yun tickets sell out in record numbers in Taiwan. The New York based company has not yet been allowed to visit mainland China.
Mrs. Parks said that there are so many different kinds of dances and she has always wanted to show audiences the different Chinese dances. At Shen Yun’s performance, Mrs. Parks said that it was wonderful to see that happen and come to life. She said she definitely got some ideas after attending Shen Yun.
Mrs. Parks said that the Shen Yun corps of dancers impressed her expert eye.
“I can tell. I’m trained in dance. They had great training. Great performance quality … all aspects of the performances were great. It’s wonderful to see it, for someone who is actually passionate about this type of work,” Mrs. Parks said.
Mrs. Shi Parks is an assistant professor of dance at KSU. In Taiwan, she was a soloist with Four Seasons Ballet and Wu-I Dance Company in Taipei, Taiwan. She toured America with the The King and I.
Mr. Chris Parks, a musician and high school teacher, appreciated the rich ethnic and folk dances that Shen Yun presented.
Mr. Parks said that Shen Yun’s “whole production was very neat.” He also toured with The King and I and traveled with other Broadway productions.
Shen Yun has grown rapidly and has three companies traveling around the world.
“You don’t often see a touring production that has a full orchestra and a cast of this size. You don’t see that even with the Broadway shows these days—it’s reduced to a small orchestra if even any orchestra. So as a whole production it was very impressive,” Mr. Parks said.
Reporting by Roland Ree and Kelly Ni.
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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