PITTSBURGH—Theatergoers in Pittsburgh caught the performance of a lifetime as Shen Yun Performing Arts gave a cultural tour de force at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday afternoon.
Marketing executive Dan Weisberg enjoyed seeing the authentic Chinese cultural elements in Shen Yun’s performance.
“I think the traditional aspects of the show are very beautiful,” he said.
Shen Yun, a New York-based company, seeks to bring back traditional Chinese culture that flourished for thousands of years, but has been suppressed under the current communist regime in China, according to the company’s website.
Mr. Weisberg lauded the performance’s “costuming, the dance [and] movement.” The company features performers that are primarily trained in classical Chinese dance—said to be nearly as old as Chinese civilization itself. And each of the hundreds of costumes that appear on stage are hand crafted out of the finest materials.
Mr. Weisberg said he hadn’t been aware that traditional China had “such outstanding dance history,” adding that the “texture to the dance is wonderful.”
Classical Chinese dance embodies the cultural tradition of China, and its extensive movements are highly expressive, says Shen Yun’s website. With this in mind, a skilled dancer using this form is able to portray scenes and people from any time period—past or present.
Overall, Mr. Weisberg described the show as “intellectually stimulating,” having never been much exposed to Chinese culture in the past. He also also mentioned enjoying the live orchestra—which joins together both Chinese and Western instruments. “It’s great,” he said.
‘Speechless at points’
Lilian Wehner, a former physicist who now teaches high school, described Shen Yun as “very peaceful, very inspiring.”
“I was speechless at points. It was just beautiful, just beautiful. You have to come and see it. You have to see it to believe it, it’s just wonderful,” she said.
Many of the stories told in Shen Yun’s performance have their origins in Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, elaborating on the principles of wisdom, propriety, justice, benevolence, and other elements, according to the company’s website.
“The whole thing was wonderful,” Ms. Wehner said.
The performance also includes folk dances from the Tibetans, Mongolians, and various other Chinese ethnic groups, which Ms. Wehner said she “really, really enjoyed.”
With reporting by Frank Liang and Jack Phillips.
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform in Pittsburg until Feb. 3. Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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