WASHINGTON—As a former producer at ABC and other companies, Marie Frances knows what a genuinely good performance is. So when she saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center on Friday, Ms. Frances could really appreciate the artistry.
“It has to be a very difficult thing to produce, because everything is coordinated—the orchestra with the dancers, the costuming with the background, [Shen Yun does] a magnificent job. It’s the only place you could see something like this,” she said of Shen Yun. Ms. Frances, who currently works for Mt. Kilimanjaro LLC, formerly produced for “That’s Incredible!” which ran from 1980 to 1984 on ABC and for “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!”
“It’s really great. I’m really thankful to be here.”
Shen Yun, based in New York, strives to revive thousands of years of Chinese culture through performing arts, combining classical Chinese dance with handmade costumes, an orchestra, and digital backdrops.
“I can appreciate this show more than I think anyone else because I know what it is to put it on,” Ms. Frances said.
“The costuming itself has to …cost a fortune to do, because it’s exceptional in every way. The materials used are the finest, and it shows—the silk and everything comes through.”
The digital backdrop—a display of colorful and detailed scenery behind the dancers—“is unbelievable,” said Ms. Frances, who noted that it uses “the latest technology.”
Shen Yun performers are primarily trained in classical Chinese dance, a form that dates back several thousand years, which is said to embody the culture of China. It has various unique movements, techniques, and leaps, jumps, and turns that require extensive training to master, according to Shen Yun’s website.
There are a couple dance pieces in the performance that touch upon the Chinese Communist Party’s ill treatment of practitioners of Falun Gong, a type of meditation practice that has been subjected to persecution since 1999.
Ms. Frances said that the performance gives good insight into “the horror that goes on in China.” She added, “I have sympathy for the Chinese people, and I would also like to help them as much as I can. So I think this is one way that you do help combat the communist Chinese, with this dancing.”
According to Shen Yun’s website, much of the traditional Chinese culture, one which dates back 5,000 years, has been lost under decades of rule by the communist regime.
Reporting by NTD Television and Jack Phillips.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun New York Company is performing in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center Opera House from Jan 30 — Feb 3 For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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