DETROIT— “Marvelous how the athleticism of the performers and gracefulness—how they do it so naturally, so to speak,” said Bill Hall, after seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts World Company at the Detroit Opera House on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 9.
Mr. Hall was referring to the classical Chinese dance he witnessed performed by New York-based yet internationally renowned Shen Yun. Each year the company travels to over a hundred cities to present thousands of years of Chinese civilization.
“I think there is a natural talent that Chinese people have for that type of cultural dance. I don’t think any other culture could emulate it or try to copy it,” said, Mr. Hall, a semi-retired aeronautical engineer, was a senior executive in five corporations, and on the boards of directors for fifteen companies.
The couple has traveled the world over. In fact, Mr. Hall is Australian.
Despite Mr. Hall’s having seen performances in China, he never knew that the difficult technical aspects—its spins, leaps and aerial flips—had emerged from classical Chinese dance.
“We were really, really impressed. Great talent. Really, really great talent,” said Mrs. Hall, who works for an international resource and environmental company.
“I think what fascinated me about this performance is the way they used the backdrop and the performers would come and go as if out of the backdrop. The timing on that was just perfect,” she said.
The digitally animated backdrops coordinate with the stage performers, creating the illusion of their interacting.
“It’s quite unique. I don’t think we’ve ever seen that used before in a performance. They used it extremely well here to create that 3-dimensional performance. It was brilliant, well done,” Mr. Hall said.
Another unique feature of Shen Yun is its live orchestra.
Mrs. Hall said, “The combination of the instruments—that was just absolutely fascinating. We’ve heard the Chinese instruments separately in performances, but to hear them combined with the Western so skillfully, it was as if it was all written to be that way.”
In fact, Shen Yun’s music is all original in order to integrate the Western and Chinese instruments. Moreover, it is developed alongside of the choreography, according to the company’s website.
“It’s like the choreography—the arrangement for the music was extremely well done,” Mr. Hall said.
In addition to the orchestra, Shen Yun presents award-winning vocalists who sing in Chinese. The lyrics of the songs are translated on the backdrops behind the singers.
Mrs. Hall could relate to some of the spiritual ideas the lyrics presented, like a creator and heavens.
Each of the 20 short pieces are introduced by bi-lingual emcees, which Mrs. Hall appreciated: “It’s hard when all you have is the program and you’re trying to read in the dark, so it really helped because as a Westerner, we’re not familiar with the stories. And so we could pick up what was going on.”
“I regret it now that we didn’t bring the grandchildren,” she said, who are 11 and 14.
“I certainly will be bringing them along next year,” Mr. Hall agree. “If we had known we probably would have brought them this time. We’re looking forward to next year. “
Or perhaps Mr. Hall won’t have to wait a year since Shen Yun’s four companies travel simultaneously: “We’ll have to see if we can catch up with them. That would be great to see them in Melbourne and Sydney because you can see I’m from Australia.”
Reporting by Charlie Lu and Sharon Kilarski
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.