MILWAUKEE—Kelly Gallaher was happy she brought her daughter to see Shen Yun Performing Arts. The classical Chinese dance and music company visited Milwaukee Theatre on Feb. 19 for its first show in Milwaukee.
“It’s really a very lovely, lovely show,” said Ms. Gallaher, who makes jewelry that is represented at the Northern Lights Gallery in Racine. Her teenage daughter studies ballet.
As a parent, Ms. Gallaher enjoyed watching the presentation of dance that was all in good taste with good values: “Having a daughter who is a teenager, what I love to see is—the talent and the skill—but it is also presented in a really appropriate way that pays homage to culture but without sort of bringing it down [to] an overly … popular kind of way.”
She summed up her statement by saying Shen Yun is in “very, very good taste.”
New York-based Shen Yun highlights the virtues of an ancient culture. The company aims to restore 5,000 years of divinely-inspired civilization, and to do so uses classical Chinese dance, one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world, along with ballet.
“We have been watching [the dancers] very carefully,” Ms. Gallaher said, noting details: “One thing that I do notice is the traditional hand movements are really so very perfect and lovely. … I really watch that, and they do such a marvelous job.”
Another positive and important element for Ms. Gallaher is Shen Yun’s costuming. “Even just in the costuming, it’s so nice to see a range of cultural traditions from all over China, and to also see the dancing brought in such a positive way—it’s just really, really nice to watch,” she said.
“Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle—from the Tang Dynasty’s “Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers” to imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, and cloud capes,” states Shen Yun’s website.
“Oh, it’s very lovely. I, we, were just saying that the costuming is so beautiful, and the staging is really very clever with the use of the screen and then the dancers who come up [onto the stage],” Ms. Gallaher said.
The dancers move against a digitally animated backdrop that features figures flying through the air and then seemingly come alive as real performers onstage.
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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