LAS VEGAS—Shen Yun Performing Arts made its debut performance at Reynolds Hall on March 15 at the newly opened Smith Center. “I love it. It’s really amazing,” said Andrea Bensmiller, professional musician and teacher.
New York-based Shen Yun’s mission is to restore China’s 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture through the universal language of the performing arts and is touring internationally, reaching over 100 cities and 20 countries.
Ms. Bensmiller, who sings and plays the bass, piano, and guitar, said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it … so uniquely traditional. We have not ever seen anything that is true to the style.”
The audience is taken on a journey through China’s dynasties, vast ethnic regions, folklore, and heavenly realms through classical dance, opera, and Shen Yun’s orchestra.
There is nothing comparable to Shen Yun being produced: “You don’t see anything like it. … So it is really incredibly different,” said Ms. Bensmiller.
“The Shen Yun Orchestra combines the spirit, beauty, and distinctiveness of Chinese music with the precision, power, and grandeur of the Western symphony orchestra. The result—two great traditions producing one refreshing sound,” according to its website.
As a professional musician Ms. Bensmiller shared her thoughts on Shen Yun’s musicians: “They are wonderful. Obviously they are very, very skilled musicians … and the music is just amazing. Everything is just incredible.”
Shen Yun’s team of graphic artists design intricate and colorful backdrops that extend the stage and the performance, bringing a dramatic portrayal to the various stories told through dance.
Ms. Bensmiller found the stories “really interesting and easy to follow with the graphics and they make a lot of sense of the characters and how they interact with each other. It is really well constructed. Even without knowing what the characters’ names are, you can really get the gist of what’s going on.”
Ms. Bensmiller said she definitely would recommend Shen Yun to family and friends, saying, “It is something that you would never see again. I don’t think anyone produces anything like it. It is a really interesting and a kind of unique experience.”
Shen Yun is “vivid, hypnotizing, and a little bit meditative,” she said, adding that “it kind of draws you in that way.”
Elaborating, she said that she found Shen Yun “calming and you kind of are locked into the feel of the dance. You can really tell that this is an incredibly skilled company.”
“The [Mongolian] bowl dance is really amazing,” said Ms. Bensmiller. This welcoming dance is performed in remote areas whereby the dancers carefully balance bowls on their heads throughout the dance. “I’ve never seen anybody do that before.”
Reporting by Albert Roman and Maria Banks.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company is performing in Las Vegas, at Reynolds Hall, in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, March 15–17. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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