NEW YORK—The attention of dancer and senior high school student Allison Toledo was piqued when she saw the advertisements for Shen Yun Performing Arts. After attending the Jan. 16 show at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, Ms. Toledo was in awe of the technique and skill or the dancers.
“I loved it! Because I’m a dancer and after seeing it … incredible! The movement was amazing.”
Ms. Toledo, who is trained in ballet through the Cecchetti method and has been dancing for 15 years, saw many different and fascinating elements in the movements of the Shen Yun dancers and took mental notes throughout the show.
“There are all those little stylized things that I picked up on and I thought was so cool! Because normally I don’t do that. So seeing that, and seeing how beautifully it was done was really incredible.”
She mentioned that it was the first time she had seen classical Chinese dance.
The New York-based company seeks to revive the China’s rich 5,000-year-old culture through dance and music.
The company’s website explains that classical Chinese dance is “composed of three main parts: bearing, form, and technical skill. Other than complete training in the fundamentals, it also entails systematic training in movements and postures, as well as very difficult jumping and tumbling techniques.”
Through these techniques Shen Yun also presents folk and ethnic dances from a few of China’s 55 officially recognized ethnic minorities. Each ethnicity has its distinct cultural elements that are also expressed through their respective dance style.
Ms. Toledo was most impressed by the extensions that the dancers could achieve because, although by her own estimation, she has worked for 15 years on extensions like that, hers “are nowhere near as good as they’ve got! Their technique is beautiful, their legs are all the way up to the ceiling … honestly, just beautiful,” she said.
She commented on the visual effect and feeling of the “way the dance flows together. Amazing! Just amazing!
She noted that it was also interesting to see the contrast between the men and the women when they danced as “the female dance was done much more softly, and the men were much more athletic, ” she said.
Flips and tumbles constitute both the most distinctive and the most difficult techniques in classical Chinese dance. All these techniques imbue classical Chinese dance with a great scope for expression.
Ms. Toledo was amazed at the flips the dancers could execute and enjoyed the “very, very high energy” and athleticism of the mens’ dances.
“Their flips were amazing. They got so much height on them, it was really cool to see,” said Miss Toledo adding that she does not do flips herself, so watching this technique performed on stage was a treat.
Ms. Toledo concluded by saying that she is interested in international relations and in experiencing different cultures and also thought that it is beneficial for young people to see the show in order to broaden their horizons and gain “a better global sense” for something that they might otherwise not be exposed to.
“And I think young people will really, really enjoy watching it,” said Ms. Toledo.
Reporting by NTD Television and Kati Vereshaka
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.