PHILADELPHIA—An enthusiastic audience came out on a wet Wednesday night to see Shen Yun Performing Arts on its last night in Philadelphia this season.
They clapped and cheered, standing to applaud after the performance at the Merriam Theater.
Attorneys Brad and Chris Bak were among the delighted audience.
Mrs. Bak who, along with her husband and children had visited China, said Shen Yun was a new experience, particularly with the inclusion of several contemporary scenes.
“I found that very fascinating,” she said. “This is something different.”
Mr. Bak said he found Shen Yun “intriguing.”
“Shen Yun presents colorful and exhilarating performances of classical Chinese dance and music. A performance by Shen Yun is a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization,” the Shen Yun website states. The company formed to revive the divinely-inspired, 5,000-year old Chinese culture after more than 60 years of communist rule nearly decimated it.
Dance—classical Chinese dance, and ethnic and folk dance—is at the core of a Shen Yun performance. Mrs. Bak enjoyed this aspect of the performance.
“The monk piece is adorable,” she said adding, “I also liked the long-sleeved piece. It was just beautiful.”
Joyful Little Monks, the first dance she referenced, depicts apprentice monks tidying up the temple with brooms and washbasin. “Eager to do well, they put their hearts into their work—with fun and humorous results,” according to Shen Yun’s program.
Sleeves of Silk, the second dance Mrs. Bak referenced, “uses what are known as ‘water sleeves’ for some of its loveliest expressions,” explains the program. “Acting as extensions of a dancer’s arms, these sleeves linger in the air long after a movement is finished. The effect is akin to fluttering wings or trailing ripples, a visual echo of the performer as she glides from one movement to the next. On earth, water sleeves accompany the most graceful of dancers; in heaven, the lightest, most airborne fairy.”
Mrs. Bak thought Shen Yun was “a lot of fun,” yet also an effective way to connect with the culture.
“I think it’s a lovely way to get authentic Chinese culture, and some of their storytelling,” she said. “It’s a good way to get a sense of their culture.”
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world, with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. The season concludes this month with performances in Honolulu and Buffalo.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.
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