CINCINNATTI—“It was great!” said marketing manager Bob Oliphant, who came to see Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Aronoff Center for the Arts with his two children.
Mr. Oliphant had never heard of the show before attending the New York-based company and its performance of traditional Chinese music and dance.
“Good experience,” he said after the Feb. 8 performance. “I travel internationally, traveled a lot to Asia, so I thought this would be interesting.”
He anticipated seeing the colors, the cultures, and different dances. “I told my adult kids, I said, expect a lot of colors, a lot of beautiful things tonight, and that’s what we saw,” he said.
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company is known for the beauty of its classical Chinese dance, and its ethnic and folk dances.
Mr. Oliphant’s emotional reaction to the performance built up over time as he watched the individual dances. These depicted stories from modern times as well as ancient Chinese history.
“The beauty of the area really came out in the dancers’ emotions,” he said.
One aspect Mr. Oliphant was really excited about was Shen Yun’s orchestra. “I was two rows from the orchestra and it was fantastic! I actually used to play trumpet; I was right near the trumpet player, and so it was fun to listen, watch, and just see the whole thing come together,” he said.
According to the company’s website: “A Western philharmonic orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies. The sound produced is uniquely pleasing to the ear. The ensemble at once expresses both the grandeur of a Western orchestra and the distinct sensibilities of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization.”
Mr. Oliphant felt the orchestra was “very good, excellent! I thought they were very professional, and just really did what they had to do.”
He also enjoyed the visuals, especially the interactive digital backdrop. Figures on the screen seem to come to life as live performers take over their roles.
“The backdrop was interesting. I thought it’s a lot of fun actually, too, with the way things came out. It was a great way to segue in to the new characters coming out,” Mr. Oliphant said.
Overall, he felt “It conveyed a strong, long history of Chinese culture; I think there was a great message in terms of the difference between two cultures,” the cultures of then and now.
Mr. Oliphant would “describe [Shen Yun] as a great experience, especially for people who have not traveled … much internationally at all, and with the growing Asian population in the United States, I think it’s a great opportunity to get exposed to some new experience—new dances, new songs, lots of new faces, and integrate with that.”
Reporting by Valerie Avore and Sharon Kilarski.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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