DETROIT—Sally Doerr, who has been training dancers for over 30 years in Michigan, attended Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Detroit Opera House on Jan. 25.
Mrs. Doerr is the owner of Flex Point Performing Arts Center, a dance studio that teaches a variety of dance styles, including ballet, jazz and musical theater. She is also co-director of Burn The Floor, an annual summer dance camp.
Many of Ms. Doerr’s students have received prestigious awards and gone on to professional careers in dance, including Broadway.
On Friday night, Mrs. Doerr found inspiration in Shen Yun.
“I’m getting a lot of ideas for things that I could introduce into my own studio,” Mrs. Doerr said.
Based in New York, Shen Yun was established in 2006 by a group of classical Chinese artists with the desire to revive the “true, divinely-inspired cultural heritage of China,” according to the company mission statement. Shen Yun presents authentic Chinese culture through classical Chinese dance and music, as well as a variety of ethnic and folk dances.
Mrs. Doerr said that she loved every second of Shen Yun. She was particularly impressed with the dancers.
“They’re just up there, they’re having a great time, and they’re living and breathing every single moment,” she said.
“They make it look very easy, but I know for a fact that it’s very athletic and just very hard for them to do. The training would be a lot,” she said.
Classical Chinese dance is alongside ballet, one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world. Passed down through the people, imperial plays and ancient plays, it has developed a vast, systematic, and distinctly Chinese dance form.
Mrs. Doerr was impressed by the time and effort the dancers put into the performance as well as “the motivation and inspiration that went into every moment. I am almost a little speechless,” she said.
The endurance of the dancers, and their ability to perform the dances without being out of breath particularly fascinated her.
“They sure don’t show it. They’re just beautiful,” she said. “They look like they are loving life every second that they are up there.”
Mrs. Doerr was also impressed by the choreography and found that the dancers were telling a story through their body movements. “They are speaking it through their bodies, their movements, their formation, and through their connection with each other. It’s really great,” she said.
As someone who works on putting costumes together for her students, Mrs. Doerr also knew to appreciate the quality of Shen Yun’s hundreds of handmade costumes.
“The costuming looks extremely expensive. I can’t even imagine how it would be to put all the rhinestones on,” she said. Mrs. Doerr was particularly impressed by the use of silk and the fluidity of movement that it gave the dancers.
She also noted Shen Yun’s music and said that dancers are very lucky to dance to a live orchestra.
“The music is beautiful. It shows a lot of emotion with the dancers…it is heartwarming and funny. It is really great,” she said.
Shen Yun’s orchestra is also unique in that it combines classical Western instruments with classical Chinese instruments in a fresh, harmonious sound.
“I am so glad I had an opportunity to come see this,” Mrs. Doerr said and added that she will take it home and talk to her dance students about Shen Yun, and how wonderful it was.
She hopes her dance students will watch the show in the future.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it is definitely an 11. It is very good,” Mrs. Doerr said.
Reporting by NTD Television and Kelly Ni.
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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