NEW YORK–Drawing upon stories from ancient China to the modern day, Shen Yun Performing Arts took the stage for its fourth performance on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater.
Camille Pirozzi, a purchasing agent for electronics, and Alice Davis, retired school district worker, said Shen Yun gave them a glimpse of traditional Chinese culture.
Ms. Pirozzi said that while the show had much to offer as a cultural experience, “It was driving a point home in many cases.”
“In one instance I felt sorry that they had to take it away from China and bring it here to perform. That they cannot perform it in another country; that’s a hurting thing,” she said.
Shen Yun aims to revive traditional Chinese culture through performing arts, mainly classical Chinese dance, and it has performed in more than 100 cities over the years, but cannot be performed in China, the company says.
There are several pieces in Shen Yun that depict China’s human rights situation, including the regime’s persecution of Falun Gong, a meditation practice that has been persecuted since 1999.
“They portrayed it here very beautifully, very palatably. It wasn’t overdone. It was just explaining that there are hardships over there,” Ms. Pirozzi said.
The show, however, mainly focuses on legends, stories, and the spirituality that has been passed down over the past several thousand years in China. According to the company, many elements of Chinese culture were destroyed or suppressed under the past 60 years of communist rule.
“It’s a shame that they can’t bring that beauty back to the motherland where it originated from. They have to do it … outside of China; they can’t do it there [and] it’s a shame that it’s oppressed,” Ms. Pirozzi noted.
Classical Chinese dance is among the most comprehensive systems in the world and takes a great deal of practice to master the movements, postures, and the tumbling techniques, the company says.
Ms. Davis said “the whole group was absolutely magnificent” during the performance. “They’re vibrant and they obviously love their profession. They love just portraying their heritage and their culture,” she added.
“And it’s wonderful that we had the opportunity to see that and experience it. I’m really happy to be here.”
With reporting by Tara MacIsaac and Jack Phillips.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world, with a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center through April 22.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.