ROCHESTER, NY—Three friends who did not want to miss their chance to experience Shen Yun Performing Arts came to see renowned classical Chinese dance and music group Saturday night.
Shen Yun is in the city for the weekend and one of the friends had waited years to finally catch it at the Rochester Auditorium Theatre. Another catches it almost annually.
“I loved it,” said former vocal music student Jakkeea Kilpatrick who came with her cousin Briana Kilpatrick Grant, a philosophy college student, and her friend Gabi, a college vocal music major.
“I’ve been wanting to come here for years. It was great to have a chance,” said Jakkeea who exchanged a shift at work to make sure she caught the show. “I was like, ‘I’m not missing it this time.’”
Her cousin Briana was particularly impressed by the elaborate production of the performance.
“It just mesmerized me,” she said.
Their friend Gabi was back to see Shen Yun for the third time. “I’m always happy to come to the show … It’s always different. I loved sitting there and just watching everything.
“I even cried a little bit,” she said.
As a music student, Gabi was particularly touched by the music, particularly the emotion of China’s two-stringed violin, the erhu, and the bel canto soloists. “It was just really really amazing,” she said. “It was just overall a touching feeling, as a singer, to see so much emotion put into a song, because people don’t really pay much attention to it anymore,” she said.
Jakkeea said that she enjoyed the many different aspects of the show, including the dancing, the live orchestra with its combination of Eastern and Western instruments, as well as the animated backdrop.
“I never knew when to clap because everything was so great, so I just held off till the end,” she said.
“And I love that it creates opportunities for people who are trained or who aspire to do something like this. Because it’s possible,” she said.
Established in 2006 by a group of overseas Chinese artists, Shen Yun has set out with “a mission to revive the true, divinely inspired culture of China,” according to the company website.
Jakkea felt the importance of preserving the traditional culture.
“It’s nice to have people aspire to say, ‘Hey, that’s a really really cool dance. I want to learn more about this culture.’ Cause it’s amazing. It should all be maintained, it should all be something that we all can at least look forward to and share and be proud of.
“I’m not Chinese myself, but I’m very proud,” she said.
“It’s nice seeing different cultures and that we’re all unique but we can all appreciate each other.”
Through its performances, Shen Yun takes the audience on a 5,000-year journey through Chinese culture, culminating in today’s contemporary China.
“I loved everything. I really did,” she said.
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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