ATLANTA—Mike Gilfillan, an Internet-company founder, treated his daughter Audrey to a special birthday present: Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre on Jan. 4.
Mr. Gilfillan said he had been to many dance recitals but had never seen classical Chinese dance before. He was very impressed with the performance. “I was blown away!” he said.
Ms. Gilfillan, a dance student, was equally impressed with the performance. “I thought it was really cool because it was a different culture of dance. So it was really interesting to watch everything.”
Mr. Gilfillan particularly liked Chopsticks Dance of the Mongolian Ladies.
“It just gave us an incredible sense for the culture,” he said. “I had no idea it had this much of a storyline. That added a lot of depth to it, so all the stories were fantastic.”
According to Shen Yun website, “Classical Chinese dance has a long history of thousands of years, soaking up profound wisdom from every era and dynasty. … Mongolian ethnic dances can be some of the most dynamic and breathtaking numbers in Shen Yun performances.”
Shen Yun costumes are originally designed and handmade, and run the gamut from those of emperors, ministers, and generals to the everyday clothing of the common people.
Both Mr. Gilfillan and his daughter were amazed and mesmerized at the impeccable timing of the digital backdrops and how they synchronized with the dances.
“It added a huge dynamic to the whole stage,” Mr. Gilfillan said.
Ms. Gilfillan agreed, adding excitedly: “It was incredible how they were in the exact spot, right time. … I think it was crazy how they can do that.”
The blended orchestra of both Chinese and Western instruments were another treat for the pair.
Ms. Gilfillan said the music “just went with the whole theme of the dances.” “It was perfect.”
Mr. Gilfillan simply seconded her feeling with “Wow!”
Solo singing performances are another feature the Gilfillans loved. This was Ms. Gilfillan’s first experience of live opera. She said, “I was not expecting that, but it was a really nice surprise. It just went with the whole theme of the dances.”
Mr. Gilfillan added, “The opera singer was a nice added bonus!”
Both Mr. Gilfillan and his daughter appreciated the explanations the emcees give before each performance, so the audience can learn more about the different pieces.
Regarding the dance The Power of Compassion, Mr. Gilfillan expressed his frustration that Shen Yun Performing Arts is not able to perform in China.
Shen Yun website states: “Over its past 60 years of rule, the communist regime has treated traditional Chinese values—centered on the idea of harmony between heaven and earth—as a threat to its existence. And in its systematic campaigns like the Cultural Revolution, it has uprooted traditional beliefs and destroyed ancient treasures—bringing traditional 5,000 years of civilization to the brink of extinction.”
Because of this, Shen Yun cannot be seen in China today.
“It was quite a cultural treat and education to be able to understand the storylines about it. That’s something our kids aren’t taught in school. … It was well worth it and a lot of fun, [an] experience.” Mr. Gilfillan said.
Audrey said she would definitely recommend it to her friends. “I’m sure a lot of my friends in dance would absolutely love to see this.” she said.
Reporting by Roland Ree and Margo MacVicar
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.