WASHINGTON—Ancient Chinese culture returned to the Kennedy Center Tuesday night with the 2013 season opening performance of Shen Yun Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
Two audience members who enjoyed the classical Chinese dance and music performance were Hans Peter and Petra Von Thielen. Mrs. Von Thielen said she enjoyed learning about China and its ancient culture through art.
“I enjoy the dances very much,” she said. “I like the different ethnic dances from the different cultures in China.”
Mrs. Von Thielen works in workforce management at a financial services firm.
Shen Yun, based in New York, tours the globe with the mission of restoring the 5,000 years of Chinese culture, one that is divinely inspired and imbued with a wide range of virtues.
“Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance,” states the company’s website.
“But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
The core of the performance is classical Chinese dance, an art form passed down through imperial courts. Accentuating the dance are ethnic dances from China’s many officially recognized minorities, such as the Dai, Yi, and Manchu. Han Chinese folk dances from different regions of China are also incorporated.
Mrs. Von Thielen appreciated the variety: “You are given an aspect of all around China, not just one section of China, but different parts of China. It’s very interesting.”
Stories from history and modern day China are brought to life through the dance pieces, from the dawn of the civilization up to the present day. “I love the cultural aspects of sharing what’s going on in China, things that we don’t normally get to see,” said Mrs. Von Thielen.
Mr. Von Thielen, who works at a law firm, also enjoyed the story-based dances and said he enjoyed how the dancers tell the story together as a group, “to make a beautiful picture [so] that everybody understands what the story is about.”
Reporting by Gary Feuerberg and Nicholas Zifcak.
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 29 -- Feb 3 For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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