PITTSBURGH—Theatergoers in Pittsburgh imbibed authentic Chinese culture on Sunday as Shen Yun Performing Arts gave its final performance in the city.
Hubert Toney Jr., music professor and marching band director at Clarion University, praised Shen Yun’s orchestra, which provides the music that coordinates with each dance piece.
“I enjoyed the music; I enjoyed the orchestra,” he said after watching it at Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center for the Performing Arts.
Shen Yun’s orchestra is unique in that it joins together to seemingly disparate music traditions: Western classical music with Chinese instrumentation, according to the company’s website.
The Western classical portion is used as the base, while the Chinese instruments—including the pipa, or the Chinese lute, bamboo flutes, and others—lead the melody, the website states.
Mr. Toney also praised the dancers’ coordination and Shen Yun’s overall choreography. “The show is great; I enjoy the formations that they make while they’re dancing. And the different visual effects,” Mr. Toney said.
Classical Chinese dance is the primary mode of expression used by the performers, who also are trained in ethnic and folk dances. According to the company, classical Chinese dance is considered a complete system, with its own unique movements, postures, and form.
“I’m the marching band director [at Clarion University]; so a lot of that I could use out in the field,” said Mr. Toney, speaking about the dancers’ coordination with the music and their ability to move in unison.
Overall, Mr. Toney said the show was great. “It’s wonderful.”
Shen Yun, based in New York, aims to revive China’s traditional culture through the arts, giving new insight into a country with a civilization that is some 5,000 years old, the company’s website states. Much of Chinese culture and spirituality was suppressed during six decades of Communist Party rule, and the show cannot be performed in China.
With reporting by Madalina Hubert and Jack Phillips
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform in Pittsburgh until Feb. 3. 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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