Dance Teacher: Shen Yun ‘A wonderful opportunity’ for Dance Students

Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 3, 2013 Last Updated: February 3, 2013
Related articles: Shen Yun On Tour » Special Section
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Shannan O'Leary at Shen Yun Preforming Arts in Pittsburgh on Feb 2. (The Epoch Times)

Shannan O'Leary at Shen Yun Preforming Arts in Pittsburgh on Feb 2. (The Epoch Times)

PITTSBURGH—Shen Yun Performing Arts boasts multiple artistic elements with a base of classical Chinese dance—an ancient art form that goes back thousands of years.

“China’s deep cultural traditions are contained in classical Chinese dance, allowing its movements to be richly expressive, such that the personalities and feelings of characters can be portrayed with unparalleled clarity,” according to Shen Yun’s website. “It is therefore capable of depicting scenes from any time period, whether ancient or modern, Eastern or Western, in a strikingly vivid way.”

Shannon O’Leary, a dance teacher at Dynamic Dance Academy in Bethel Park, Penn., has taught for about 30 years. Her students, learning multiple styles such as Italian and ballet, range in age from two-and-a-half to older adults.

Shen Yun was a treat for Ms. O’Leary, who has seven children; it gave her time to relax and learn about the beautiful and profound culture of ancient China.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal—the costuming, the choreography, the graphics, the digital screen,” she said after seeing the performance at Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. “Everything comes to life. It’s just such a whole new experience.”

Accentuating the dancers are ornate handmade costumes. Rounding out the performance are award-winning vocalists, digital backdrops, and an orchestra that melds both classical Western and Chinese instruments, such as the pipa, or Chinese lute—which like many of the Chinese instruments is thousands of years old.

Ms. O’Leary said the performance was a great way to bring ancient culture and dance out into the public, and would be a superb experience for dance students.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to inspire younger dancers…to experience the spiritual, and to grow as a performer.”

With reporting by Frank Liang and Zachary Stieber

Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform next in Indianapolis at the Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University, February 5 -- 6. Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit

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