WATERBURY, Conn.—Classical Chinese dance and traditional culture came alive in Connecticut on Thursday afternoon, as Shen Yun Performing Arts performed at Waterbury’s Palace Theater.
Carol Edinger, a garden grooming business owner, and her husband Chuck Edinger, a retired Bible teacher, lauded Shen Yun—namely the performance’s use of color as well as the spirituality found throughout it.
“It just flows. The colors and the design … the designs that were made as they were dancing” had a “gracefulness” to it, Mrs. Edinger said.
Shen Yun aims to revive traditional Chinese culture through performing arts, music, and other means, the company’s website states. Classical Chinese dance, an ancient system that embodies traditional Chinese culture, is the main medium of expression employed by the performers.
Mr. Edinger said Shen Yun has “a great deal of spirituality in it, too,” referring to many of the legends and stories passed down throughout the Chinese civilization.
The company says that Chinese culture has been deeply influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, and the performance depicts the heavens as well as the Yellow Emperor, who is credited with creating Chinese culture.
“The spirituality that came through … the praise to the creator” impressed him, said Mr. Edinger.
Mrs. Edinger said that the show also provided a spiritual “connection with the universe.”
‘Don’t Miss It’
Wynn and Linda Eberhard, both Mormon missionaries from Colorado similarly praised Shen Yun.
“I’d come every year. If we lived here, we’d come every time,” Mrs. Eberhard said.
Mrs. Eberhard said that the traditional Chinese culture in Shen Yun “needs to be presented.”
“I think there’s so much beauty in China that has been suppressed for so long, and that we’re taking the opportunity now to really show the spirit and the feelings of the culture,” she said, praising the overall effect created by the choreographed dances, music, and the ever-present digital backdrop.
Even though Shen Yun focuses on Chinese culture and spirituality, it cannot be shown in China, the New York-based company says. Much of traditional Chinese culture was basically destroyed under six decades of Communist Party rule, particularly during the Cultural Revolution that lasted from 1966 to 1976.
There are several scenes in the performance that have a more modern theme, focusing on human current rights violations in China at the hands of the Communist Party. “The two scenes where there was some confrontation was handled very well. It was not offensive; it was handled so appropriately. It was great,” Mrs. Eberhard said.
When asked if they would recommend the performance to others, both said they would. “Everybody, yes. Definitely,” said Mrs. Eberhard, before adding: “Don’t miss it.”
“It was worth every penny of the ticket. Every penny of the ticket,” she said.
Mr. Eberhard praised Shen Yun’s costumes, which according to the company, are hand-designed and inspired from dress worn in Chinese dynasties and dress worn by ethnic groups in China.
“It was excellent; it was very good,” Mr. Eberhard said.
Reporting by Stephanie Lam and Jack Phillips.
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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