NEW YORK—The dancers of Shen Yun Performing Arts transfixed dance teacher Corina Jacob.
“I was fascinated by the grace of the dancers and the amazing energies they could create
with body and the props,” she said after seeing the New York-based company perform at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on Sunday evening.
“Dance is one part of human culture,” explains Shen Yun’s website. “Classical Chinese dance is grounded in 5,000 years of divinely inspired culture, and is a dance art form built upon a deep foundation of traditional aesthetics.
“I like the body, [and] how dancers use their bodies like an instrument,” said Ms. Jacob. She was especially taken with the dance Lotus Leaves, which depicts “delicate yet playful” lotus maidens “dancing atop the waters,” according to Shen Yun’s program. “The dancers’ unique full-circle fans sway like lily pads in the wind, evoking scenes of a flowering lotus garden in the summertime.”
“This [dance] was for me amazing,” said Ms. Jacob.
Shen Yun compliments dance with a unique orchestra, vocalists, handmade garments, and digital backdrops. The performance features more than a dozen short dances that venture through China’s long history and vast lands.
“I think each piece has a message—I cannot generalize, like a message of freedom, a message of high spirituality, and battles between evil and good,” said Ms. Jacob. “I love it!”
That the company is on a mission to revive the 5,000 year-old Chinese culture—including principles such as benevolence, wisdom, and honor— after communist rule nearly hunted the culture into extinction, connected with Ms. Jacob. She saw a bond between the past, present, and future.
“Chinese culture is an old culture, almost the base of our civilization,” she mused. “And it’s amazing that for the dance, also, we learn things from China, the Chinese civilization.”
Accompanying Ms. Jacob on Sunday evening was Dr. Serban I. Cocioba, a doctor in Manhattan.
“It was amazing,” he said. “Such grace.”
Mr. Cocioba brought his daughter with him, who said that she found the performance “entertaining and interesting.”
“The dancers are amazing,” Mr. Cociaba added, noting that he appreciated the coordination and beauty seen throughout the performance. “It’s just beautiful, it makes me cry.”
Reporting by Alec Wang and Zachary Stieber.
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. Upcoming performances in the United States include Chattanooga, Tennessee, on April 24, and Columbus, Ohio, on April 26 and April 27.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.