PITTSBURGH—A season ticket holder of the Pittsburgh Ballet discovered a new experience when he saw Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday.
“I really learned a lot from seeing another culture like that,” said Chris Courtley, who writers song lyrics. “You get exposed to a whole other culture and it enlightens you.”
New York-based Shen Yun was formed with one mission—to revive the ancient Chinese culture, one which is 5,000 years old and was nearly decimated by the ruling communist regime.
The culture is steeped with a range of virtues, as well as different legends and stories. The core of the performance is classical Chinese dance, an art form that is both one of the most expressive and difficult to master in the entire world.
“A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending the sounds of both East and West, breathtaking backdrops, splendid costumes, singers—together creating an experience that’s leaving millions in awe,” according to the company’s website.
Mr. Courtley said he wanted to sit as close as possible to the orchestra to better enjoy the sounds; he enjoyed the unique fusion of classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments.
He said he was saddened by the fact that Shen Yun cannot currently perform in China—because the ruling regime is in stark contrast to the traditional values Shen Yun is reviving.
At the same time, he said the performance was uplifting and “got your spirits up.
“I’m glad I saw it,” he said, adding he drew some inspiration for his lyric writing.
Further, it was different from anything he has ever seen.
“That’s why I say you learn something from it and I appreciate that,” he said. “It’s good for your mind to see new things, different things.”
Reporting by Lijie Sun and Zachary Stieber.
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform next in Indianapolis at the Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University, February 5 -- 6. 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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