Dance Professor: Shen Yun Incredible, Inspiring, Refreshing

May 6, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Phyllis Gaines and Kenneth Walker attend Shen Yun
Phyllis Gaines and Kenneth Walker attend Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Mahaffey Theater on May 5. (Victoria Wu/The Epoch Times)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Phyllis Gaines, a dance professor at the University of Tampa and a sign-language teacher in Hillsborough County, attended one of the Shen Yun performances at the Mahaffey Theater on May 5.

“It was so fabulous—very colorful, very inspiring! I love it,” she said.

Kenneth Walker, a musician who plays acoustic and electric bass, accompanied Ms. Gaines. “It was incredible—everything,” he said.

“The music was powerful, the performances were incredible. The visuals were just stunning, arresting. They just stop you dead in your tracks. Just gorgeous! And the colors are bright and vivid, very inspiring,” he said.

“The orchestra is incredible. I love it. I love it—the sounds of the Chinese instruments with the Western instruments and the melodic forms and the themes.”

Mr. Walker particularly enjoyed the dances Joyful Little Monks and Sleeves of Silk.

Ms. Gaines agreed: “Sleeves of Silk was very good—totally, hands-down beautiful!”

In addition, she said the lyrics, which are displayed on the digital backdrop during the vocal solos, gave her goose bumps as she read them. “I was almost in tears because what they’re saying is that no matter what, you still can get up and just keep moving forward.”

“That seems to be the theme of the whole show,” Mr. Walker said. “No matter what the opposition is, you just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Ms. Gaines said it was one of her favorite performances, and she’s seen a lot of performances: “It’s very nice, pleasing to look at. You understand the story—they explain every dance. I found myself taking sighs after a dance, like ‘Ahh, that was beautiful, just refreshing.'”

“Coming from my background, performing in dance, in performing arts, you see that it shows that hard work, discipline, pays off. If you were looking for a mistake—none! Very precise, everything was synchronized, everybody was en pointe. It was just unbelievable,” she said.

Both said they would recommend Shen Yun to their friends, and Ms. Gaines said she would definitely be coming again next year.

“I’m going to write on my Facebook, ‘Best show I’ve seen in a long time. Very colorful. Very refreshing. Refreshing is the word,” Ms. Gaines said.

“Refreshing and inspiring,” Mr. Walker added.

Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company, one of Shen Yun’s three touring companies, all based in New York, performed in St. Petersburg. The season concludes this month with performances in Philadelphia, Honolulu, San Antonio, and Buffalo.

Reporting by Edie Bassen and Louise Rothman.

Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture.

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