DETROIT—Marco and Michelle LaChapelle enjoyed everything about the performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company they’d just seen. The couple attended the fourth of Detroit’s five-performance run at the Detroit Opera House.
“We’re happy,” Mrs. LaChapelle said of the evening performance, Jan. 26.
Shen Yun brings “a divine culture back to life through the universal language of music and dance. Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and heroic modern-day epics,” according to the company’s website.
Owners of M & M Machining in Sterling Heights, Mich., the couple thought Shen Yun was fabulous.
At the heart of New York-based Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance. Alongside ballet, its dancers undergo one of the most rigorous and comprehensive training of any dance system in the world, the website explains.
“The dancers, with they’re being so in sync” impressed Mr. LaChapelle, who called them excellent, while his wife commented on their limberness.
Classical Chinese dance is also one of the most expressive dance systems, and as such, it is the perfect vehicle to bring stories to life, which the LaChapelles appreciated.
Mrs. LaChapelle said she would most remember the performance’s “vividness, and … the incorporation of the storytelling with the dance.”
One dance-drama Mrs. LaChapelle particularly enjoyed is called “Sand Monk Is Blessed,” about a shape-shifting river ogre who eats children. The ogre is tricked by heavenly children whom he can’t catch and gets caught himself. He is eventually redeemed and joins a traveling monk.
Both the LaChapelles will take away more knowledge about the Chinese culture after seeing Shen Yun.
“I like to see the truth, Chinese people talking about the Chinese [regime], not being afraid to speak out. Expressing themselves in the dance, in the songs,” Mr. LaChapelle said.
Mr. LaChapelle was referring some of the dances that depict modern-day heroism in the face of the repressive Chinese regime.
In addition to the dancing, Shen Yun tours with award-winning vocalists who sing with the demanding vocal technique of bel canto. This technique is combined with singing in the Chinese language, a very difficult combination.
“I love the solos that they’ve been doing, with the singing. It’s beautiful,” Mr. LaChapelle shared.
The colors of the performers caught the LaChapelles’ eyes as well. Mrs. LaChapelle described the handmade costumes as vibrant and noted how the backdrop screen seemed to cooperate with the dancers. Shen Yun utilizes high-tech animation to allow the figures on the backdrop to magically come to life as onstage performers.
“Oh, it’s been beautiful,” she said.
With reporting by Dongyu Teng 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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