WATERBURY, Conn.— Sitting amid the full house during a Shen Yun performance on Feb. 14 at the Palace Theater was Timothy Bayley, founder and chairman of MedWrite, a medical communications company.
“It’s the first time I’ve been exposed to Chinese folk dancing—I think it’s incredible,” said Bayley. He said he danced ballet and jazz 25 years ago as a professional dancer.
Shen Yun is a classical Chinese dance group that tours in more than 100 cities. Its mission is to revive a lost heritage that was destroyed during the Chinese cultural revolution.
Classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance forms in the world. It requires dancers to master difficult combinations of leaps, turns, flips, spins, and other aerial and tumbling techniques. In fact, acrobatics originated from classical Chinese dance.
“[The dancers] make everything look effortless,” Mr. Bayley said. “It’s really something.”
Apart from techniques, a large part of classical Chinese dance is comprised of the distinct dancing style of China’s plethora of ethnic groups.
Through a digital interactive backdrop, the audience is whisked away to the snow-peaked mountains of Tibet, the shores of a Dai Village, and vast plains of Mongolia.
“I think the backdrop really adds to the story,” Mr. Bayley said.
Shen Yun also incorporates several story-based dances in its program—such as the epic tale about the journey of a monk carrying Buddhist scriptures from India to China with a monkey, pig, and a sand friar.
“Their figures embody the most exalted virtues of Chinese civilization, and convey a message or moral that is still relevant in our day,” states the Shen Yun website.
“It’s about family, adventure, being in the moment … to be happy,” Mr. Bayley said.
“The exuberance of the [dancers] obviously shows through,” he said. “They’re really happy with what it is they are doing.”
Reporting by Hannah Cai and Amelia Pang.
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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