Former Dancer: Shen Yun ‘Brought Me to Tears’

February 9, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—”This was one stunning performance,” said Michael Manougian about the world-acclaimed classical Chinese dance company, New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts.

The former ballet dancer, who used to own his own publishing company, but now works in the finance industry as a mortgage broker, brought his family to see Shen Yun performing at the Mahaffey Theater on Feb. 6.

“I’ve been around the arts, the actual acts, dance, ballet, theater my entire life and this was one stunning performance,” he said.

“The costumes, the background effects, timing was impeccable, everyone hitting their marks exactly on time. That’s the things I look for, besides the dance itself, obviously.

“It was fantastic, but also hitting their marks exactly on time and then … and also I really liked the mixture with the singing, with the drums, with the dance. It was a fantastic performance.”

According to the company website, “A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending East and West, and dazzling animated backdrops-together creating one spectacular performance.”

Another thing Mr. Manougian said, the orchestra “was incredible.”

“The combination between the [Western] and then the introduction of the Chinese instruments, I’ve never heard that before and … it brought me to tears in several places,” he said.

Mr. Manougian was talking about the ancient Chinese instruments such as the soul-stirring erhu and the delicate pipa, on top of a full orchestra of Western strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass.

However, at the heart of Shen Yun is classical Chinese dance, as well as some folk dances from China’s diverse ethnicities. The large-scale dance performances involve a large cast and intricate choreography, created when this group of talented artists set out on a mission to revive China’s divinely inspired culture, almost lost to the past 60 years communist rule.

“For me it was bliss. I just enjoyed it. I just fell into the moment. You know, I almost saw myself on stage because I used to be on stage.”

Mr. Manougian’s mother was a ballet instructor, so he grew up dancing ballet and doing gymnastics.

“I used to do acrobatics and I used to dance ballet so I am familiar with all the different genres.”

He said he had been interested in Chinese culture for many years.

“Absolutely! And how deep it is and how long it’s around, I have to learn from it because there is so much to learn from. When you have that much depth and that much history—so much to learn, and so I’ve enjoyed it.”

Mr. Manougian said it was “an absolute shame” that Shen Yun cannot go to China.

“The fact that they can’t go there and show their own culture in their own country…is criminal to me.”

Given that the Communist regime has spent decades destroying traditional culture in China, it is not surprising that Shen Yun cannot perform there.

He said he would tell others about Shen Yun.

“Everyone must see it! Absolutely incredibly beautiful, the costumes, the dance, there wasn’t a part that I didn’t enjoy. I came here with high expectations and they exceeded it.”

Reporting by Edie Bassen and Raiatea Tahana-Reese

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. 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.

St. Petersburg, United States
Shen Yun New York Company