Film Editor and Family Love Shen Yun

April 22, 2012 Updated: August 14, 2015

NEW YORK—Many audience members have interesting stories to tell about how they got to see a Shen Yun Performing Arts performance. Norman Gay, a retired film editor, his daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren were no exception.

Ava, 6, had wanted to see the show since she was 3-years-old, explained her mother, Bonnie Bache, but children under 5 are restricted from the performance. At the beginning of April Ava’s little brother picked up a Shen Yun leaflet.

“He brought it to her and I was like, ‘oh my goodness, it is coming back, we can go!'” Ms. Bache said. “This is the first time ever … it is like an omen.”

On Sunday afternoon, the family settled in at Lincoln Centers’ David H. Koch Theater to take in ancient Chinese culture through the classical Chinese dance, song, and music, of Shen Yun Performing Arts.

Ava said after the show: “I love it.”

Mr. Gay said Ava was trying to dance in her seat during the performance.

As a film editor, he was particularly struck by the digital backdrop used in each Shen Yun piece. Using “state-of-the-art graphics technology,” the backdrop shows “vast open grasslands,” pictures from ancient China, mountaintops, and other scenery—all filled with movement, the company’s website says.

“Of course everyone is raving about that animation effect they have coming down on the screen, coordinating it with the dancers,” Mr. Gay said. “It is terrific.”

In some pieces, the dancers interact with the screen, seemingly merging into the backdrop from the stage and appearing form the screen to the stage.

“I really loved the people popping out of the screen,” Ms. Bache said. “She [Ava] thinks they did—she thinks they popped out and then they popped in.”

Ava said she saw “people flying; things nobody can do.”

Shen Yun uses classical Chinese dance, an ancient style that has its own “unique dance movements, rhythms, and inner meaning,” the company says on its website. Not only that, the performance uses a variety of different costumes reflective of different dynasties and ethnic groups from China.

“Shen Yun, which is sort of resurrecting Chinese culture and giving a message, they have a spiritual message they are trying to get across and that is what the songs are about,” Mr. Gay said.

Ms. Bache, who is looking to get into interior design, said the costumes were very vivid. “I loved that—very pantone colors … The costumes, they do make the show.”

“I thought it was amazing, the scenery. That was kind of trippy. I liked it. The timing was impeccable, seamless, I loved it.

With reporting by Joshua Philipp and Jack Phillips.

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.