NEWARK, N.J.—He plays the beat that moves her feet and together the husband and wife duo of Nelson and Magda Báez work to preserve an artistic culture that is a part of who they are.
But culture is an ever evolving thing, and on Friday they found new inspiration for their Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance ensemble when they took in Shen Yun Performing Arts at New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Shen Yun stages performances of classical Chinese dance—a tradition dating back 5,000 years—with the support of a symphony orchestra that includes traditional Chinese instruments.
“The choreography is wonderful. The music is fantastic. And I love it,” said Mr. Báez of Shen Yun during intermission that night. “I will definitely be back. And I love the folklore.”
Shen Yun draws inspiration from 5,000 years of divinely-inspired Chinese civilization and was founded on a mission to revive that culture.
It’s a mission Mr. and Mrs. Báez can appreciate. The couple are the directors of Cimarrones, an ensemble performing arts group that plays Bomba and Plena music and dance and performs throughout New Jersey including on the smaller stage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre.
“We wish the entire ensemble was there. Fourteen of us … So they shared the same experience of a different culture,” said Mr. Báez.
Mr. and Mrs. Báez each said the performance was inspiring for their own artistry. Each shared their thoughts on Shen Yun’s innovative animated backdrop, a digital projection that expands the stage to heavenly realms and scenes from China’s bygone dynasties.
“This is just amazing and gives us an incredible number of ideas … It’s amazing,” said Mr. Báez.
He said he was fascinated by the interaction between the dancers and projections.
“They jump in and out of [the screen],” explained Mrs. Báez. “This gives me ideas.”
Mrs. Báez, who handles costumes and choreography for the Cimarrones said Shen Yun’s costumes were gorgeous and the choreography stood out.
“I loved it. I loved the colors, the costumes, the story. It’s beautiful,” she said.
“You are not just watching it for entertainment. It’s also a learning experience. It’s very well put together,” said Mr. Báez, who added he was looking forward to the second half.
“The first hour flew by. It was amazing. It was very, very entertaining,” he said.
“The precision of the dancing and the music is very impressive.”
Reporting by Ivan Pentchoukov
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.
The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.