Different Cultures, Different Dance Movements

January 20, 2014 Updated: January 23, 2014

BALTIMORE—Ms. Rina Gleadall and Ms. Jane Sharrocks, both registered nurses, had come to the Kennedy Center Opera House, a performing arts facility that was formed in 1971, to see the unique Shen Yun Performing Arts opening performance on January 21.

Ms. Sharrocks had come all the way from Baltimore just to see the Shen Yun show. Watching the Shen Yun Show was important to both of them because they are working with this area’s Chinese medical community.

“I thought the Shen Yun show was magnificent, beautiful, so extremely visual and artistic. I learned a lot.” said Ms. Sharrocks.

She added that since we “work with many members of the Chinese medical community, whose parents are Chinese and are first generation here, I want to tell them to come see this show too.”

It was the first time she had seen a Chinese cultural performance. She was amazed to watch the different scenes about the cultural periods and the different dynasties, she said.

An article on the Shen Yun websites explains to the reader the most basic idea behind the Shen Yun. “Shen Yun presents colorful and exhilarating performances of classical Chinese dance and music. A performance by Shen Yun is a presentation of traditional Chinese culture as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled from the five millennia of Chinese civilization.”

Ms. Gleadall said that she had “studied dance as a child, gymnastics and martial arts. It is great that all of those things are combined in this performance.”

After having seen advertisements about the show, “I became very interested in seeing the combination of all these art forms so to speak as one,” said Ms. Gleadall.

A most interesting aspect of the show was “seeing cultural aspects from different parts of China, a little how things were different.”

She continued, “The dancers’ movements of different regions were somewhat different; they emphasized different ways to move, I don’t know how else to say it.”

According to the Shen Yun website, “Animated backdrops transport the audience to another world. Projected behind the dancers, the hi-tech images lift the stage and set it amidst blossoming landscapes, deep forests, Mongolian prairies, or celestial paradises.

“I really enjoyed watching the pictures on the backdrop. I wish I knew where in China they were from to learn even more. Well, some of them I think I figured out. I just really enjoyed having the performance combined with the pictures on the backdrop.”

The Shen Yun website explains to its readers that “Over its past 60 years of rule, the Chinese communist regime has treated traditional Chinese values—centered on the idea on 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.”

Ms. Gleadall said, “It is very important that people learn how it is [in China].”

She added, “For thousands of years, China has this culture, and their own people can’t learn about it. It’s such a shame, and I think that the rest of the world needs to learn about it and see it, and believe it, so that groups globally can raise their voice in protest.”

Ms. Gleadall said, “We both know people who have adopted girls from China. We hope they could watch this show and perhaps bring their adopted children to see it too.”

Reporting by Elaine Zhang and Heide B. Malhotra

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

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.