COLUMBUS, Ohio—For marketing consultant, Charity Tinsel, the Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company’s exhilarating revival of ancient China, presented at the Ohio Theatre on March 3, was an awe-inspiring experience.
She was joined by JPMorgan Bank’s underwriter Will Bynum who loved everything, “the visual effect, the artistry and the dance. It’s incredible,” he said at intermission.
The couple were seeing the New York-based Shen Yun, one of three companies performing simultaneously around the world, for the very first time.
“Wow!” Ms. Tinsel said, totally in awe of the entire production.
“Just to see a different culture and what they think … You may see it on TV and whatnot, but to see it in person is very impressive," she said.
“I think the costumes and the imagery, and the cultural meaning behind the dance … I mean, just in certain ways that they hold their hands, and the certain moves that they do are very specific to the Chinese culture.
“It must have deep meaning to the culture for the certain ways that they look, or their hands in the air, certain ways they hold their fingers together, so it must mean something.”
Classical Chinese dance has a vast training system, and is a dance form still mostly new to the West, says the Shen Yun website. You could say it carries the essence of Chinese cultural expression in its movements, postures, and aesthetics. In its early years, it was passed down primarily in the imperial court and as part of ancient theater. And Shen Yun’s mission is to revive Chinese traditional culture, the website explains.
“I definitely see some of the more spiritual beliefs behind it. You definitely get the feeling that in the Chinese culture they believe that the deities are very, very involved in daily life, and that you can come to them easily, or pray easily, and they’re there to help and they’re there to make things better, they’re always watching over. You kind of get a sense, you get a big community sense, the culture as a people, really are united or unified … at least that’s what I get from the dance,” Ms. Tinsel said.
Mr. Bynum also sensed the spirituality in the performance. “It’s almost like the spirits are their protectors. When there’s something that’s wrong that’s going on, they come down and protect the person that’s being hurt or whatnot. It’s very spiritual,” he said.
He also appreciated the humor presented in some of the dances. “You get the very feeling that the Chinese people are a very funny people, like very interested in humor, which you maybe don’t necessarily know, because they’re also very dedicated and disciplined and structured. But you can tell from the show that they have a great sense of humor and it comes out in their dance.
“It’s a great performance,” he concluded.
Reporting by Kerry Huang and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts is one of three companies touring simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org