Dancers Admire Shen Yun Dancers’ Depth of Storytelling

January 10, 2015

BERKELEY, Calif.—Sisters and ballet dancers Sophiana and Lily Carrell both felt they learned a lot by attending Shen Yun Performing Arts with their father at Berkeley Zellerbach Hall.

Their father brought the girls to see the performance after visiting the Shen Yun website and viewing videos showing excerpts of some of the dances.

“I thought it was a very impressive performance, very beautiful and elegant,” Lily said.

Based in New York, Shen Yun has delighted audiences for nine years with classical Chinese dance and live orchestral music. The company’s mission is to bring traditional Chinese culture to life onstage.

“It’s very graceful … I love the acrobatics sense, things that are not done in ballet, such as the flips and certain turns, the tumbling,” Sophiana said. “It’s very beautiful.”

According to Shen Yun’s website, classical Chinese dance “entails systematic training in movements and postures, as well as very difficult jumping and tumbling techniques. And so, alongside ballet, classical Chinese dance is one of the most comprehensive dance systems in the world.”

Lily said that after their years of ballet dancing, they “definitely related to this performance.”

“I’m walking away with a lot more knowledge,” said Sophiana.

Sophiana admired the choreography of Shen Yun’s world-class dancers.

“I liked the structures that they created onstage. It was very appealing to the eye, the symmetry,” Sophiana said. “The costumes are absolutely beautiful, very colorful and so graceful, so graceful. I loved all of the movements and it was a very entertaining show.”

Their father, Mr. Collin Carrell, appreciated the live orchestra that uses both Chinese and Western musical instruments. Shen Yun’s website explains, “A Western orchestra plays the foundation, while traditional Chinese instruments lead the melodies. The sound produced is uniquely pleasing to the ear.”

I was fascinated by the array of sounds that could be made with just two strings.
— Collin Carrell
Mr. Carrell also commented on the soloist who played the erhu, or Chinese violin, a traditional two-stringed instrument. “I was fascinated by the array of sounds that could be made with just two strings,” he said.

“It was very entertaining, I loved it,” Mr. Carrell said of Shen Yun. “I felt it was very educational … It was all so fresh and new, and it was very wonderful.”

His daughters enjoyed seeing the dancers convey stories and legends from Chinese history.

“I thought that was very entertaining, in how they were able to really tell an entire story through just dance,” Sophiana said.

“I thought [the storytelling] was really unique,” Lily said. “We would tell stories through our dances, but this is very involved, and I thought that was very cool … There was a lot of history behind it, so I think I learned a lot.”

Reporting by Youzhi Ma and Sally Appert

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform around the world. For more information, visit

Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reaction since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.