ROCHESTER, NY—Former dancer Lorraine McNeil was blown away by the Shen Yun Performing Arts show she attended at the Rochester Auditorium Theatre on Sunday afternoon.
Now retired, Ms. McNeil taught Middle Eastern dance for 28 years. She was highly impressed by the calibre of Shen Yun’s dancers.
“They are so talented,” she said. “It is great talent, stamina, and precision. It was beautiful. The costumes were exquisite.”
“It was all fantastic,” said her friend Rita, also a former dancer.
Ms. McNeill described classical Chinese dance, an ancient art form that involves complicated leaps, spins, and tumbles, as “unbelievable.”
“The arm movements and the way they moved their feet to turn, etc. I think that interested us. The costumes were incredible, just incredible. And the precision—because dancing alone is a lot different than having 20 peak performers doing the same thing. It was beautiful,” she said.
She added that she was surprised to learn that gymnastics and acrobatics came from classical Chinese dance rather than vice versa.
“The hand movements—everything was a joy to see.”
In its mission to revive the authentic Chinese culture, New York-based Shen Yun has three performing arts companies that tour internationally every year with an all-new program.
Each company has its own unique orchestra that combines classical Chinese instruments leading the melodies with the grandeur of a Western philharmonic orchestra.
The show also includes vocal soloists, who, according to the Shen Yun website, use bel canto vocal technique while singing Chinese lyrics, which is not easily accomplished and is “unparalleled” in the music world today.
“The musicians were wonderful,” said Ms. McNeil. “The singers, the musicians—unbelievable.”
“They were incredible,” said her friend.
They were both also delighted with the erhu solo by Xiaochun Qi. The two-stringed erhu is known for its expressive sound.
“It was mesmerizing,” said Ms. McNeil.
“When she first started to play, I thought it was mournful almost, and then the pace picked up and it was joy, and so everything was in there. I didn’t want her to stop. It was really good. It was just wonderful, it makes you feel happy, all the emotion.”
“I enjoyed it just as much as she did. I thought it was wonderful,” said Rita.
Rita added that seeing the show gave her the urge to dance.
“I want to go home and practice. I want to go take a veil and start twirling it around. I don’t know how they did those scarves at the end, twirling them.”
“It was just phenomenal,” said Ms. Ryan. “Everything about it—all the costuming, the dancing—fabulous.”
“We will come again.”
Reporting by Hannah Cai and Joan Delaney
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun will be in Buffalo, NY on Apr 17 and Syracuse on May 12. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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