DETROIT—Driving in the snow all the way from Ann Arbor, Cindy Pearson didn’t know what to expect. Her husband Jim had surprised her with tickets to see Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Pearsons were delighted with what they saw Friday night, Jan. 25: New York-based Shen Yun reviving 5,000 years of China’s divinely-inspired culture through a performance of the world’s finest classical Chinese music and a unique orchestra.
Shen Yun “presents themes of compassion and courage with stunning beauty and tremendous energy, leaving audiences uplifted and inspired,” according to the company’s website.
“It was very spiritual,” Mrs. Pearson said.
“What I am enjoying are so many different aspects. China is huge and the history is huge and I’m really enjoying the, … just seeing a short vignette into each different part of the cultures—I’m really enjoying that,” she explained.
As professional jewelers, the couple have a fine eye for visual aesthetic and design. Coincidentally, their business emphasizes Asian artifacts.
Husband and wife shared their wonder at Shen Yun’s vividly animated digital projections.
“I’ve never seen the backgrounds like that before. My goodness, how did they do that? That animation it’s so precise, it’s so exacting,” Mr. Pearson said of the animated backdrop that synchronizes action on the screen with that on the stage.
Mrs. Pearson reiterated that sentiment: “The scenes in the background were so well done and when the people went out into the atmosphere and then [came] back,… I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. It was really, really well done.”
“It’s really impressive, really, really impressive and visually stunning,” she said.
Mrs. Pearson said that besides jewelry, she has also done some work in interior design, adding to her esteem for the work Shen Yun put in.
“The design work is just exquisite,” she said.
Classical Chinese dance is an ancient art form, passed down and enriched dynasty after dynasty for thousands of years. Mr. Pearson said his background in another ancient Chinese art added to the night.
“As a martial arts instructor, of course, I love the dancing,” said Mr. Pearson, who taught martial arts for 15 years.
He said there was a “strong emphasis on water and fluidity of movement” in the performance.
Mrs. Pearson enjoyed the distinct qualities of the male and female dancers.
“Impressive athletes, my goodness! I said, ‘How can they remember all those steps?’ and then I had a perception of the women as being so feminine. Some of the costumes and the movements remind me almost of cotton candy. It’s just so lush and so lovely, and the men are so muscular and to be able to do all those flips.”
Classical Chinese dance, the core of Shen Yun, relies on difficult techniques that include tumbling, aerial flips, spins and leaps. The night’s performance also included a unique philharmonic orchestra that included Chinese instruments like the pipa and erhu leading the melodies.
“Oh, let’s not forget the singers, wonderful, wonderful voices,” Mrs. Pearson suddenly remembered.
In addition to dancing, Shen Yun presents vocalists trained in bel canto singing, yet singing in Chinese—truly an unparalleled combination, according to the website.
“They gave me the chills,” Mrs. Pearson said.
Reporting by Charlie Lu and Sharon Kilarski.
Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company will perform at the Detroit Opera House through to Jan. 27. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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