ATLANTA—As a professional ballerina and dance instructor, Megan Johnson knows the amount of effort and hard work that goes into creating a production like Shen Yun Performing Arts.
But she also knows that hard work alone is not what makes Shen Yun an exceptionally majestic performance.
“You cannot fake passion. You can work very hard to get the lines and the technique, but what comes from the soul you cannot fake, you cannot practice; it just is,” said Ms. Johnson at Cobb Energy Centre at the Jan. 3 matinee of Shen Yun.
Ms. Johnson, who has performed with a number of companies throughout her career, is currently a professional company member of Georgia Dance Theatre. She is also a dance instructor at the Georgia Academy of Dance & the Performing Arts.
According to the emcees of Shen Yun, a New York-based classical Chinese dance and music company, Shen Yun literally translates to the beauty of divine beings dancing.
After watching the performance, Ms. Johnson said she could see how this name relates to the show.
“I love it they explain what the name means, and that is … the divine beings expressing through their soul, that’s beautiful … It’s from within, so it was lovely.”
Watching Shen Yun’s presentation of classical Chinese dance was a unique experience for Ms. Johnson.
“I’ve never seen anything like … I am very excited, that there are things that my mind never thought to use in dance. It is very creative and just beautiful,” she said.
Classical Chinese dance is an ancient art form going back thousands of years.
“Soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty, it has become a complete system of dance embodying traditional esthetic principles with its unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning,” according to the Shen Yun website.
Shen Yun dances stand out even more because of two things: the skill with which Shen Yun dancers perform the challenging techniques of classical Chinese dance, and they all move in harmony and perfectly synchronized.
“Because I teach and dance, it is very hard to get dancers perfectly in a line, or doing exact movement with their hands. Everyone is very different, so getting them to match is really difficult,” Ms. Johnson said.
“To see everyone so precisely together and just moving, everyone has beautiful expression, their technique was just flawless. That’s hard to do that.”
Other elements in the performance that set it apart from what Ms. Johnson has seen before were all the colors in the show, seen on the hundreds of handmade costumes, the state-of-the art animated backdrops, and other props on the stage.
“I did not expect so many bright colors and so many dancers at a time, there were 16 or 18 dancers at one time, moving in sync. It is more than I expected, so it is lovely,” she said.
“The backdrop was so creative. I’ve never seen anything come from the backdrop and come to life, so again every aspect of the show is very surprising, and just seeing different elements you have never seen before.”
Ms. Johnson said the performance gave her inspiration and ideas to use in her own work.
“When I go to choreograph, I would like to use the idea of the sleeves and fabric,” she said.
“I want to try to incorporate some of the ideas into my dancing, bring a little bit of that culture.”
The entire performance, combined with the unique orchestra that uses both traditional Chinese instruments and classical Western instruments, as well as performances by award-winning vocalists, left Ms. Johnson with pleasant memories of her time watching Shen Yun.
“It was beautiful, everything from the technique, props, to the dancers, even the musicians and singers. They were so beautiful, very talented.”
Reporting by Frank Xie
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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.