For Retired Ballet Teacher: Shen Yun is ‘Incomparable to Anything Else’

NEW YORK—Retired ballet dancer Julie Brunner Cross said Shen Yun Performing Arts was a “phenomenal experience.”

“It’s so vibrant and expressive and colorful and acrobatic, and the way that lines of the dance are different from Western ballet; it’s the asymmetry of the movement and the incredible leaps and jumps and flips in the air,” she said. “It’s breathtaking.”

New York-based Shen Yun has a core of classical Chinese dance, an art form that is both one of the oldest in the world and one of the hardest to master. The dancers are adorned with handmade costumes and accompanied by digital backdrops and an orchestra that joins East and West.

“Through the universal language of music and dance, Shen Yun weaves a wondrous tapestry of heavenly realms, ancient legends, and modern heroic tales, taking you on a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese culture,” explains the company’s website. “Its stunning beauty and tremendous energy leave audiences uplifted and inspired.”

Ms. Brunner Cross said that Shen Yun is “incomparable to anything else.”

Before she retired, Ms. Brunner Cross danced for the Joffrey Ballet School, a school that fuses multiple styles of ballet to create a unique style. She is now the head art teacher at the Park Slope Armory and the Prospect Park Y, as well as an afterschool art teacher at the Park Slope Afterschool Center at P.S. 107.

She enjoyed experiencing Shen Yun and paid close attention to the dancers.

“They are beautiful to watch,” she said. “The way they glide, and their hands are just so expressive.”

Every movement of the dancers tells a story, according to Ms. Brunner Cross.

“Very fluid,” she said.

Classical Chinese dance, at the heart of the performance, includes three main components, one of which is form.

“Form refers to the techniques and methods expressed externally, including the hundreds of exquisite movements and postures,” explains Shen Yun’s website. “Even though many of these poses might look very simple, they actually require the perfect coordination of every part of the body. For example, the movement and rotation of the trunk, the direction of the gaze, the placement of the fingers, and so on, all require accuracy and coordination.”

The artists of Shen Yun had “very strong energy,” said Ms. Brunner Cross. Even the slightest movements, she said, convey “so much emotion.”

Ms. Brunner Cross said that people need to see Shen Yun for themselves.

“It’s incomparable to anything else.”

Reporting by NTD Television and Ryan Jeffries

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The next performances in the northeastern United States are in Philadelphia May 3-5. For more information, visit

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.