MILWAUKEE—Three gracious ladies from Waukesha, Wisc., Andrea Bryant, Carol Smart and Delia Sava enjoyed their evening at the imperial court on Feb. 19 at the Milwaukee Theater. They were treated to dances of classical Chinese dance, that once-upon-a-time, only guests of the emperor could see—they saw Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Classical Chinese dance is one of the traditional arts that New York-based Shen Yun proudly brings to the world. It aims to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired civilization through dance and music.
Ms. Bryant, who once was a ballet dancer and a great supporter of the Milwaukee ballet, called the performance spectacular.
“What we noticed was the way they moved in unison perfectly,” Ms. Bryant said. “They stopped at the right time, and that was spectacular to see that many dancing and coming and stopping at the same time. Where they flowed down [onto the stage]—spectacular. The hands were absolutely beautiful. The way they were used and how they all are the same, it was just a lovely dance.”
In speaking of the skill of the dancers, Ms. Bryant said: “It all takes athleticism. It’s very difficult to do, so we really appreciate those dancers and the time it took for them to learn the dances, to keep their bodies in shape, and to be able to do those things they do …. Beautiful.”
Ms. Smart, who works in real estate, commented on Shen Yun’s handmade costumes: “I loved that the costumes were uniform. You did … ballet, [she said to Mrs. Bryant.] I haven’t been to one in a long time, but usually, the principal dancer would have a different outfit on. This was more beautiful because it was almost organic, came out of the whole group. That was very nice,” she said.
Mrs. Bryant enjoyed the visuals as well, saying, “The costuming is so beautiful, the silks, the colors, and then, [the] spectacular backdrop of the scenes, of coming out of the screen and coming up—very exciting.”
The dancers move against a digitally animated backdrop that features figures flying through the air and then seemingly come alive as real performers onstage.
“And I did think the backdrop, the pictures, enhanced what we were seeing on stage. It drew us back into China,” Mrs. Bryant said.
Ms. Smart who had also been to China remarked that she’d seen the long sleeved gowns before, “but they were not anywhere near as beautiful as this.”
“No,” Ms. Bryant agreed. “And the way they handled the scarves, too, that takes lots of practice to handle the scarves. And everyone doing the same. The visuals were just beautiful.”
Ms. Sava, a visual artist and executive director for The Delafield Arts Center, said “It was just such a visual treat. It was just beautiful—the costumes, the movement of the dancers, and you know how it was synchronized was just fabulous. The athleticism of the dancers was just incredible, truly amazing.”
Reporting by Ying Wan and Sharon Kilarski.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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