Burns said he was surprised upon learning that the various dance styles depicted in Shen Yun date back thousands of years.
“Chinese dance is at the heart of what Shen Yun does. Known for its incredible flips and spins, and its gentle elegance, it is one of the most rigorous and expressive art forms in the world,” reads the company’s website. Shen Yun also uses folk and ethnic dances in its performances.
Chai observed how it was interesting to learn that aspects of the dances such as tumbling techniques, and elements in the dance that he would call “gymnastics,” all originate from classical Chinese dance.
“It all came from classical Chinese dance, which I didn’t know, which was amazing,” Chai said.
The New York-based company writes on its website that the difficult jumping and tumbling techniques, as depicted in some of the Shen Yun dances, all originate from classical Chinese dance, which has a history of thousands of years. Such moves were later introduced to gymnastics and acrobatics over the recent decades.
“Enjoying the artistic dancing,” Burns said. Of the dancers’ skills, he commented, “Fantastic. Fantastic flexibility.”
“The dances, performances are amazing,” Chai said. “The skills that [the performers] have and hours and hours of training they would have done were really good.”
According to the company, China was once known as the “Land of the Divine,” reflecting the belief that its culture was imparted from above. Shen Yun seeks to inspire theatergoers by bringing back to life the spirit of China’s traditional culture, where harmony is emphasized between heaven, earth, and humankind.
Chai said he was proud to see the traditions brought to life on stage.
“I think we shouldn’t forget [the] traditional,” he said. “That it’s always going to be a part of our culture, so that’s something that we need to embrace and maintain and keep for generations.”
‘It Brings Hope’
For another theatergoer, IT professional Deanna Rami, who also enjoyed Shen Yun at Capitol Theatre on March 14, Shen Yun brings hope.
“Great show. It was just gorgeous. Beautiful costumes. The music was incredible and of course the dancing, phenomenal,” Rami said.
“It brings hope,” she later said, adding that she took away an understanding from the vocal performances.
According to the company, the lyrics in Shen Yun’s songs “probe the mysteries of life,” and “transcend the boundaries of race and culture, resounding with a message of hope and peace.”
“I think the singing, the two—the soprano and the tenor, and the messages that they had to bring, I think, is a real true depiction of the world today and that if we just have faith, we’ll get through this, some of the challenging times,” she said.
She also shared her understanding of one dance piece that she described as “lovely,” adding that “it all really comes down to faith.”
“I think we just have to have faith that the Creator is the best intentions for us and then that through time, our light will shine through the darkness,” Rami said.
Rami said that if she were to tell others about the show, she’d say “it’s absolutely worth it. Definitely come to see it. It’s a delight. It really is delightful.”
With reporting by Steve Xu, Anne Wang, and Mimi Nguyen Ly.