PITTSBURGH—Shen Yun Performing Arts graced the stage at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday afternoon, pleasing the audience with an artistic presentation of traditional Chinese culture.
Dr. Svetlana Parys, a doctor originally from St. Petersburg, said the music, as well as the backdrop and the dance techniques, culminated in an outstanding performance. She was seeing Shen Yun for the second consecutive year.
New York-based Shen Yun presents Chinese culture in a performance that transports the audience through time—through different eras and dynasties—and space—across the vast land, depicting different legends and ethnic groups. Several pieces depict the current situation in China, where spiritual groups are persecuted for their beliefs, most prominently Falun Gong, a meditation practice.
The practice, guided by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, “has helped over a hundred million Chinese people understand and return to the essence of traditional Chinese culture—Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist schools of thought,” according to Shen Yun’s website. But the Chinese Communist Party, which espouses beliefs “in stark contrast” with Falun Gong, began “a ruthless and systematic campaign” against the practice.
“But Falun Gong practitioners have held firm to their beliefs and have continued to expose countless injustices through peaceful means,” according to the company’s website. “Their spirit of compassion and tolerance manifest the very essence of China’s 5,000-year-old divine culture.”
After last year’s performance Dr. Parys researched the persecution; she said it is sad it is happening.
“Because it’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s nice, beautiful beliefs. I hope someday they will win—I hope—because I would like Chinese people to be free.”
The performance as a whole resounded with the doctor.
“We’ll come here every year,” she said. “Don’t miss it, because this is very beautiful.”
Dance and Music a Hit With Editor
Mr. Robert Weible, editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review newspapers, enjoyed the performance with his wife Mrs. Heather Weible, a medical appeals coordinator.
“We’ve always been interested in Chinese culture,” said Mr. Weible, adding that he particularly liked the music and the dance.
Mrs. Weible said the costumes were beautiful and the dancing was amazing. “All of it is just wonderful,” she said.
Schooled in classical Chinese dance—one of the most difficult to master forms in the world—Shen Yun’s dancers are accentuated by handmade costumes, digital backdrops, and an orchestra that deftly melds East and West.
“This is how the effect is achieved: A Western philharmonic orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies,” states Shen Yun’s website. “The sound produced is uniquely pleasing to the ear. The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization.”
Reporting by Pamelia Tsai and Zachary Stieber
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform in Pittsburg until Feb. 3. Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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