WASHINGTON—After seeing Shen Yun Performing Arts at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. on March 22, Harold and Susan Hersch could not contain their excitement. Both talking at once, they conveyed their happiness, inspiration, and enlightenment about the Chinese culture, something that was a first exposure for the couple.
“We were so happy we came that we felt we learned things from it,” said Mrs. Hersch. “We learned about Chinese culture, which was something we had never seen before.”
Shen Yun is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company. Operated by a non-profit group based in New York, its performances seek to revive 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese culture.
Mr. Hersch said he was “very interested in all the mythology, folk stories and traditions,” adding “it ignited a great interest in what we saw.”
“The dance performance was remarkable … what you notice was everybody together as a totality. There were individuals who did things obviously, but that’s not what you remember, it’s how everybody seemed to be working together so well,” said Mr. Hersch.
Mr. Hersch is the CEO of Hersch/Lauren LLC, a firm specializing in property management of affordable housing. He lives in Washington with his wife.
The couple suggested that Shen Yun would be “very accessible to children,” and they wished that they had brought their grandchildren.
“There were little children sitting around us that were delighted as we were,” Mrs. Hersch said, adding that there was a kind of purity to the performance that appealed to her very much.
Shen Yun performances are filled with idyllic scenes from Chinese history, engaging choreography, and a live orchestra accompaniment. A set of bilingual hosts punctuate each performance with a bit of explanation. Mrs. Hersch said the narrators were “lovely,” “whimsical,” and “funny.”
‘Taken through the years’
Tom Philips, a project manager with the World Bank, went to Shen Yun with his wife Amy, for her birthday.
Clearly impressed with Shen Yun’s innovative use of state-of-the-art digital technology to produce brilliant animated backdrops, where a dancer may leave the stage only to immediately fly up into the sky, Mr. Philips suggested it was a “theater trick, probably as old as Shakespeare.”
He also said the themes of heaven and earth, and good and evil, were “old as myths.” His wife said it was like being “taken through the years.”
Seeing Shen Yun Repeatedly
Part of another group, Mrs. Nelsy Munevar, retired from the Inter-American Development Bank, which is a branch of the World Bank, said the show was “beautiful … excellent.”
“The colours—they were very soft, and the background, it was beautiful—very peaceful, very nice, very soft,” she said.
Mrs. Menevar said it was her husband who decided to take herself and their friends to see Shen Yun. The two couples had seen Shen Yun perform two years back and they wanted to see it again. The group was even more impressed the second time seeing Shen Yun.
“The scenery was completely different … the dresses were very, very beautiful … it was excellent, excellent, excellent,” said Mrs. Munevar.
“This was impressive,” said one of the men.
“The scenery, the techniques used to make believe that these … these guys flying down and then you see the real people coming, fantastic!” said the other gentleman.
Mr. and Mrs. Hersch said they were already anticipating next year, when they will definitely see Shen Yun again and bring their grandkids.
Reporting by Yang Chen and Andrea Hayley.
Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will perform at The Kennedy Center Opera House, Washington, D.C., through April 1.
For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org