ORLANDO, Fla.—When business-development lawyer Lisa Connell saw Shen Yun International Company at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center on Jan. 16, she was very glad she had come, she said.
At intermission, Ms. Connell said the dance that describes a human rights issue in China captured her interest. “I thought it was brilliant,” she said, referring to An Unexpected Encounter.
She said she became alert and curious about the history of the company. “There’s no way China is letting this message get out there,” she said. She wondered how the company does in Taiwan. It packs theaters and receives high praise, according to multiple reports in The Epoch Times.
Shen Yun is based in New York. According to its website, audience members are often surprised to hear that Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today. In fact, there is no other performance like it in China. Shen Yun’s mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture, which has been all but demolished after decades of communist rule.
Ms. Connell studied ballet “years and years ago.” She said, “The dancers had amazing form.” She was intrigued by the dance vocabulary, the placement of the feet and the hand gestures, all very different from Western dance.
According to the Shen Yun website, classical Chinese dance has a long history of thousands of years, passed down continuously within the imperial palace and ancient Chinese theater and opera.
Over China’s long history, the movements and style of each region’s traditional ethnic and folk dances have undergone gradual codification to the point where today they can be widely recognized in the dance world. Ethnic and folk dance are similar in that they are both non-systematic dance styles rooted in popular local traditions.
Ms. Connell had never seen Shen Yun before and said she was very glad she had come.
The vibrant costumes and the cultural appeal combined to create a rich, interesting experience, according to Ms. Connell. “It was very entertaining.”
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The International Company give one more performance in Orlando on Jan. 17. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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