TEMPE, Ariz.—Ms. Dorothy Pitre took Ms. Connie Churchill Moore to see Shen Yun Performing Arts’ matinee at the ASU Gammage Theater, on March 8, to celebrate Ms. Moore’s birthday.
They were among an audience that gave the Shen Yun Orchestra and artists a standing ovation with much cheering, hooting, and whistling.
Ms. Moore, owner of Moore Chrysler Jeep and Subaru Automotive Group, and Moore Chrysler Jeep dealerships, said, “I actually saw some print advertising on [Shen Yun] last year. And then Dodie [Dorothy Pitre] got these tickets to celebrate my birthday which was in February, so we’ve been really looking forward to it.”
Ms. Pitre, a volunteer medical technologist whose husband also owned several car dealerships, and Ms. Moore said in concert, “I love it!” after watching the performance.
Ms. Moore was struck by the unique “art of storytelling” woven into the ancient Chinese culture.
Shen Yun uses Chinese dance—which has been refined over thousands of years—to portray stories spanning the millennia of China’s culture.
According to the Shen Yun website, “In less than ten minutes each, Shen Yun dances recount ancient myths, bygone heroes, or celestial paradises. Whether set in the past or in contemporary China, every dance embodies traditional Chinese values. Ideals of loyalty, filial piety, and veneration for the divine are cherished and celebrated. Heroes are extolled for their compassion and tolerance as much as their courage or determination when facing adversity.”
“And this is a different cultural exposure for us,” said Ms. Moore. “I just love the story, the cultural story.”
Ms. Pitre added, “Yeah! It tells a story really well.”
Independent and nonprofit, New York-based Shen Yun was established in 2006 by artists from around the world with the mission of reviving China’s divinely inspired traditional Chinese culture, which had nearly been completely destroyed by the current regime in China over the last several decades.
“Chinese dance is at the heart of what Shen Yun does,” explains the Shen Yun website. “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.”
The caliber and the precision of Shen Yun artists enthralled Ms. Moore: “I love the dance, and I love the fluidity. They’re very trained dancers, and they’re so graceful, and they’re so fluid.”
Not only was Ms. Moore impressed with the dance but also with the Shen Yun costumes. “The costuming is beautiful!” she said.
According to the website, “Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle—from the Tang Dynasty’s ‘Raiment of Rainbows and Feathers’ to imperial dragon robes, phoenix coronets, and cloud capes; from the civil official’s headdress and robes to the warrior’s helmet and armor.”
Ms. Pitre marveled at the animated backdrops: “The background merges with the actresses, the dancers. I like that!”
Setting each dance is an animated digital backdrop, which at times interacts with the dancers. The website explains: “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.”
Ms. Moore said, “We were just talking about how we have traveled so much around the world, and we both been in China, mainland China, and Hong Kong, and we were just talking about our trip we had there in Macau.”
However, as the website explains: “Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today, where traditional culture has been nearly lost. Yet Shen Yun—a non-profit organization—has become an international phenomenon, bringing the wonders of ancient Chinese culture to millions across the globe.”
“So, this is really a treat!” said Ms. Moore.
Reporting by Flora Qu and Thanh Le
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.