PITTSBURGH—Exquisite dance took center stage as Shen Yun Performing Arts gave theatergoers in Pittsburgh a look into traditional Chinese culture on Saturday at the Benedum Center.
The performance left an impression on Mark Loebach, a regional sales manager, who described it as “outrageous”—in a good way. “It was gorgeous. It was beautiful. It was entertaining,” he said, adding that some of the pieces were “just mesmerizing.”
Shen Yun, in its mission to revive traditional Chinese cultural values, uses classical Chinese dance—a system that is both highly complex and expressive—throughout the performance.
“That was perfect, absolutely perfect. Clearly highly-trained and I can’t imagine how much practice and dedication it takes to get to that level of performance,” Mr. Loebach said.
The dancers are systematically trained in difficult jumping and tumbling techniques, as well as in dance fundamentals, movements, and postures, according to the New York-based dance company’s website. With this in mind, it is said to be one of the most comprehensive systems of dance in the world.
The performance also includes a digital backdrop that displays scenery from ancient China to modern times, including snowy mountaintops, forested areas, and the heavens, the website says. The dancers are able to interact with the backdrop.
“I thought the backdrop was brilliant…the way that the characters would kind of come and go back and forth from it, I thought that was fantastic. I loved that,” Mr. Loebach said.
And since Chinese culture and stories might be difficult to understand for people who are not familiar with them, there are two narrators that briefly explain in English and Chinese the meaning of each forthcoming piece. “We got a kick out of the narrators too. We thought they were comic. A lot of fun,” said Mr. Loebach.
Overall, he said those who have not seen Shen Yun: they “absolutely” must see it.
Nicolette Landosky, a college student who formerly taught ballet, described Shen Yun’s separate dances as “very interesting.” She added, “I liked them,” while praising the costuming.
Shen Yun’s costumes are hand-made and take inspiration from clothing worn in various Chinese dynasties, including the Tang Dynasty and Han Dynasty, as well as various ethnic groups, according to the company’s website.
With reporting by NTD Television and Jack Phillips.
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform in Pittsburg until Feb. 3. Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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