Film Producer Sees Shen Yun Through ‘Lens of Joy’

NEW YORK—The precision and discipline of the dancers in Shen Yun Performing Arts made a strong impression on film producer Cecily Tyler, who has worked on a number of television series including TLC’s Now Who’s Boss?, and films including Hot Lunch.

Ms. Tyler saw the New York-based company perform at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on April 26. 

“I’ve been trying to pinpoint the correct language to say this, there’s a taking of joy in the precision of movement that the Chinese dance has,” said Ms. Tyler. 

She said could see through the “lens of joy” provided by the dancers, that they were “taking joy through the act of discipline.” 

“I’ve studied modern dance, there’s a joy that’s taken with each movement [of Shen Yun dancers], and innocence, that can be lost within the United States culture because we’re so inundated with so much consumerism. So there was something really lovely about how, particularly the very end when people were bowing and coming out and just the appreciation of the movement they had learned and exacted and executed, was something that was really lovely to see,” she said.

“The deepening of understanding Chinese culture happened for me tonight.” 

Classical Chinese dance formed over thousands of years in China, and it is used in Shen Yun, along with ethnic and folk dance, to depict the nation’s ancient legends and modern tales. 

Shen Yun’s mission is to revive 5,000 years of Chinese culture, according to its website. 

The Shen Yun website explains the precision of movement Ms. Tyler noticed: Form, one of the components of classical Chinese dance, includes “the hundreds of exquisite movements and postures.”

“Even though many of these poses might look very simple, they actually require the perfect coordination of every part of the body,” states the website. 

“I also loved the costumes,” Ms. Tyler also said, “It was beautiful, the sense of color.”

Her mother, Susan Ogden, attended the performance with her and also praised the colorful display. 

“It’s always amazed me, the difference between Asian and American orientation to color,” she said. “The costumes were extraordinary—and the depth, understanding, interpretation were so much more than the words I can think of to say right now.”

Shen Yun’s costumes are as diverse as its dances—from the Han-fu, or the traditional garb of China’s majority Han ethnic group, to the Yi ethnic group’s long, pleated skirts featuring large, colorful bands.

“Shen Yun presents dances deeply immersed in rich ethnic hues,” reads the Shen Yun website, noting that China’s 55 ethnic minorities “display a multitude of styles and an extensive range of colors.”

Ms. Tyler said she learned much about Chinese culture. With a new production every year, Ms. Ogden said, “We can come back many times and see many dances again next year.”

“I loved the show. My daughter loved the show,” she said. “We really felt that we had a wonderful introduction to Chinese culture, and an opportunity to learn about dance.”

Reporting by Huiwen Ji and Tara MacIsaac.

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

Shen Yun’s New York Company will be performing at Lincoln Center through April 28.

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.