Heirloom-Clothing Designer: Shen Yun ‘a Cultural Experience’

Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 16, 2013 Last Updated: January 16, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla.—New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts impressed a husband and wife who have diverse working backgrounds. On Jan. 15, Rich and Olga Russell attended what they agreed was a fabulous performance.

Mrs. Russell said that she showed her husband a Shen Yun brochure and he was hooked. It led them to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre to enjoy an evening with the Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company.

For a living, Mrs. Russell handcrafts heirloom children’s clothing, which she describes as specialized and Victorian-styled. She was impressed by Shen Yun’s costumes, also handmade. “Shen Yun’s costume artists collect countless designs of traditional attire, ranging from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of the common people,” the website states.

“The costumes, the colors, the dancing—all of it is fabulous,” Mrs. Russell said.

“The music was excellent,” said Mr. Russell, a director of defense electronics infrared technology. “We are in the front row, so we get to experience the orchestra right up close. They are wonderful.”

In fact, the Russells’ experience was one-of-a-kind, as Shen Yun’s orchestra has no match. Embodying a Western philharmonic orchestra as its foundation, it seamlessly incorporates traditional Chinese instruments, such as the pipa and erhu, to lead in the melodies.

Mr. Russell described the dancers as “very handsome and pretty” and was struck by their talent and enthusiasm.

Perhaps he was picking up on their bearing, one of classical Chinese dance’s three main components. Bearing can be considered the inner spirit that resonates outward with incredible expressivity. The other two aspects of classical Chinese dance are form and technical skill.

According to the Shen Yun website, “A performance by Shen Yun is a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization.”

“It was quite a cultural experience,” Mrs. Russell said.

Reporting by Sally Sun and Adam Miller.

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The International Company will perform in Orlando on Jan. 16 and 17. For more information, visit

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