LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Artist Jennifer Vance had never seen anything like Shen Yun Performing Arts, the world’s premier of classical Chinese dance company.
Ms. Vance, who attended the performance with her husband Ken, an attorney, was besotted by the performance they saw at the Kentucky Centre’s Whitney Hall, on March 23.
“It’s absolutely wonderful, it’s stupendous, I’ve never seen anything like it and I also didn’t realize there was so much to the history. I’ve always been very interested in Chinese dance and art. I love the arts, so when the show came along, it far exceeds everything I thought it would be,” she said.
Based in New York, Shen Yun’s website describes the exhilarating performance accordingly. “Sophisticated dance techniques, an orchestra joining instruments from both the East and West, beautiful costumes, and a stunning back drop—this is Shen Yun at first glance.
“But digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one. Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience.
“Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”
As an artist who works with oil paints, Ms. Vance said the colors were incredible and so too was the dancing.
“I think how they coordinated the screen with the 3-D, to the dancers going backwards and forwards is marvellous,” she said.
“With state-of-the-art graphics technology, Shen Yun’s digital-backdrop team creates vividly animated settings, extending the stage and transporting the audience to a world where heaven and earth are one,” says the website.
“I’ve never seen it done like that in a show and the timing is incredible, the timing with the integration, with the 3-D, and then the timing of the dancers as they go across [the screen] is…it’s seamless, it’s just seamless.”
Ms. Vance, who also delves in encaustic art, a type of wax painting the Egyptians used, was fascinated with the choreography throughout the presentation.
“I was very interested to see how the classical Chinese dance–so much of it has been fused into the Western dance particularly. And this is going to sound weird. With hip hop, there is a lot of break dancing movements in hip-hop today, which is interesting for something being thousands of years old, and hip hop is like two decades old. I just think that that’s amazing.”
“It was wonderful,” Mr. Vance said. “I thought it was very insightful.”
He said he was particularly interested in finding out more about the dance segments that portrayed the brutal persecution of Falun Gong, an ancient meditation system.
“I’m not real familiar with that so it certainly sparked an interest,” Mr. Vance said.
According to the company website, audience members are often surprised to hear that Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today. In fact, there is no other performance like it in China today.
“The explanation dates back to the Cultural Revolution and systematic attempts to wipe out the heritage of 5,000 years of civilization. Shen Yun’s goal is to revive the authentic and original manifestation of traditional Chinese culture and art. On stage, Shen Yun performances bring back these traditional values that have sustained and created cultural expression for so many generations.
“The mere representation of this lost heritage and its virtues immediately, by way of contrast, unmasks the Party and its ideology of struggle. This is why the Communist Party fears Shen Yun, and why this kind of performance cannot be seen in China today.”
Reporting by Micheal Huang and Raiatea Tahana-Reese
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