DETROIT—“I was blown away,“ said Crystal Ross, once a professional dancer and now a dance instructor, impressed with the quality of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ dancing. She caught the New York-based company’s performance on opening night of its five day run at the Detroit Opera House.
Shen Yun aims to revive 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture by bringing their world-class dance and music to the company to the world.
At the core of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, one of the most expressive and comprehensive dance systems in the world. Dancers undergo rigorous training in exacting postures, difficult techniques that include leaps, spins, and tumbling, and a deep connection to the inner meanings of what they portray.
Ms. Ross had never seen classical Chinese dance before, but she does have a background in ballet: “I used to do ballet for five years. I was in the Nutcracker years ago and that was the last time I did ballet.”
Because of the uniquely expressive nature of classical Chinese dance, it makes an excellent vehicle for storytelling. Shen Yun capitalizes on this unique quality and employs it to depict China’s ancient legends, myths, and history, as well as the virtues that these stories embody.
“I loved the show. I love the Chinese culture and how preserved it is and how they’re bringing it to America,” Ms. Ross said.
One thing that truly captivated Ms. Ross was the costumes. “I love the colors of the costumes,” she said. “I love them , they’re beautiful. I want to go backstage and steal a costume so bad. They’re so pretty— beautiful.”
The other element that impressed Ms. Ross was the flawless performance of the dancers. She mentioned that she sensed their dedication to bring that perfection about.
“I just wish I could see them do a practice one time—to see how much dedication there is because they are so good—flawless, they’re flawless,” she said.
“I really wish my girls could have come so that they could see the lines—how particular they are about the lines. Their small hand movements and the tiny gestures—about how it’s all together and it looks effortless, … . Their face is just smiling like they can do this in their sleep and that’s what I like about it.”
But Ms. Ross does not think this performance is just for dancers: “I would definitely recommend coming, even if you don’t dance, even if you’re not into dancing, but just to come to experience the Chinese culture, the colors, the music, the dedication that these people put on for this wonderful performance. I would recommend anyone to try it.”
Reporting by Madalina Hubert Sharon Kilarski.
Shen Yun Performing Arts new York Company will perform at the Detroit Opera House through to Jan. 27. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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