DALLAS—A scholar found Shen Yun enjoyable on Jan. 3. Dr. Hal Barkley is director of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. He brought his wife to see the artists at Winspear Opera House.
“We enjoyed it immensely! It was beautifully done,” Dr. Barkley said.
Based in New York, Shen Yun presents classical Chinese music and dance.
Mrs. Vicki Barkley, an art teacher, said that she was impressed with “the mixture of technology and fabulous costume design intertwined with what you would expect—the music and dance.” The mixture made the performance so refreshing, she said.
“I was expecting something more sedate and it was very exciting to watch!” Mrs. Barkley said.
“I would come back again. It was great,” she said.
Currently, Shen Yun cannot perform in China, where the traditional culture has been suppressed since the Cultural Revolution. Mrs. Barkley said, “I found that very interesting and enlightening.”
“There is a great deal of history and art and artistic expression that’s lost as it is now, and that’s unfortunate,” said Dr. Barkley.
According to Shen Yun’s website, “the deeper spiritual core of the ancient culture, with its values of benevolence, honor, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity, as well as a reverence for the gods and the heavens, cannot be destroyed.” In order to restore and revive Chinese traditional culture, a group of overseas Chinese artists established Shen Yun in New York in 2006, it states.
Mrs. Rebecca Timmons attended Shen Yun with her husband Mr. Ryan Timmons. She said that the performance was “visually stunning and the costumes were extraordinarily beautiful.”
Mr. Timmons is a middle and high school teacher. He said the use of costumes in the choreography was appealing. “I like how the costumes were part of the dancing, like the sleeves and the scarves. It was really amazing that they could use that to tell the stories that they were trying to do with the dance.”
“It gave me an appreciation for how complex the Chinese culture is and how many years the civilization has been around. It was very humbling,” Mrs. Timmons said.
Mrs. Timmons said it was seamless. “Everything was just synchronized so beautifully and they made it look effortless, just the way they were dancing with bowls.
In the Mongolian Bowl Dance, Mongolian women emerge balancing bowls on their heads in a dance of welcome as a clear blue sky embraces the vast expanse of the northern grasslands, according the program book.
The Shen Yun Orchestra was fantastic, said Mrs. Timmons. Mr. Timmons said he liked the blending of Western and Eastern culture. “The different instruments were neat to hear and see them too,” he said.
“Looking down and getting to see the instruments being played—the gong and the percussion and everything—it was great,” Mrs. Timmons said.
Inspired by the rich Chinese culture presented by Shen Yun, Mr. Timmons said that he wants to go explore the culture now, and look up some of the stories told in the performance. “It made me a lot more interested in it,” he said.
Mr. Timmons said that this was their first night out in a long time, as they have three small children and they were excited to spend their first night away together at Shen Yun.
“It was just a masterpiece. The costumes were so stunning and the dancing was just so beautiful,” Mrs. Timmons said. “The whole experience was magical,” she said.
Reporting by Hannah Cai and Kelly Ni.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s International Company will be performing at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre through Jan. 6, and at Fox Theatre from Jan. 8-9. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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