NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.—Shen Yun Performing Arts performed its 2012 program for the last time at State Theatre on Saturday evening, delighting the audience with a wide range of stories and scenery from across the land of China—and from its birth 5,000 years ago up through the present day.
New York-based Shen Yun has as its mission reviving the traditional Chinese culture, which is replete with divinely-inspired meaning and virtues such as benevolence, wisdom, sincerity, and a reverence for the gods and the heavens, according to the company’s website. Yet after more than 60 years of communist rule in China, the very act of reviving the culture bars Shen Yun from presently traveling to the country to perform.
At the core of a Shen Yun performance is classical Chinese dance, an art form imbued with culture from the different dynasties and eras. The dancers are clothed in handcrafted regalia that depict different ethnicities and societal roles. Accompanying the dancers are award-winning vocalists, backdrops created with cutting-edge digital technology, and an orchestra that melds classical Western instruments with traditional Chinese instruments, such as the Chinese lute, or pipa.
Jamie Probber, an attorney and musician, praised the music.
“I love the music,” he said. “I studied a lot of different music a long time ago, and the mix of Eastern and Western, and the instrumentation as well, was very interesting.”
Mr. Probber’s wife Roberta said she found Shen Yun wonderful and beautiful.
“I love the way the fans and the fabric was used,” she said. “I am fascinated by the social statements and the history.”
Fans and fabric are primarily used by the female dancers in the performance, such as in the dance Sleeves of Silk, in which “water sleeves” are used to express feelings.
“Acting as extensions of a dancer’s arms, these sleeves linger in the air long after a movement is finished. The effect is akin to fluttering wings or trailing ripples, a visual echo of the performer as she glides from one movement to the next. On earth, water sleeves accompany the most graceful of dancers; in heaven, the lightest, most airborne fairy,” according to Shen Yun’s program.
Another couple who were seeing Shen Yun for the first time, John McCorkle and his wife, also complimented the performance.
“I loved the show.” said Mr. McCorkle. “My wife and I are very pleased.”
The dancers use of their hands and the way they imparted the various pieces also impressed Mr. McCorkle, along with the spiritual elements seen in the performance.
“I think it shows the history and the spirit of the people from many centuries,” he said, “and it even relates [to] today from what I can see.”
Reporting by NTD Television and Zack Stieber.
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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