Former TV Host: Shen Yun a Learning, Entertaining, and Emotionally Moving Experience

May 12, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Marilyn Ciancio shares her Shen Yun Performing Arts experience
Marilyn Ciancio shares her Shen Yun Performing Arts experience at Shea's Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. (Courtesy of NTD Television)

BUFFALO, N.Y.—Marilyn Ciancio has had a long history of active work in the arts and community initiatives that promote the arts. She was the producer and host of Artscope, which aired on Time Warner television for 14 years, and has also worked as an arts correspondent for a talk show.

Ms. Ciancio, who was named a 2005 New York State Woman of Distinction, which honors women in New York State who exemplify personal excellence, took in Shen Yun Performing Arts at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo on Friday, May 11.

The performance, Ms. Ciancio said, is “the most professional, and beautiful, inspiring kind of production that I’ve seen for dance and history.”

Featuring colorful and exhilarating performances of classical Chinese dance and music, New York-based Shen Yun presents traditional Chinese culture “as it once was: a study in grace, wisdom, and the virtues distilled form the five millennia of Chinese civilization,” according to the Shen Yun website.

For Ms. Ciancio, the show was simply “magnificent.”

“It’s just emotionally moving, and the spontaneity of it all; the choreography is beautiful, the costumes are great, and they’re spontaneous and synchronized perfectly,” Ms. Ciancio said.

She appreciated learning about China’s history and culture through the show, and praised the show’s emcees who provided background information about each scene.

“I love the history of it. I think it’s important to learn the history of the Chinese culture,” Ms. Ciancio said.

“It’s a learning experience, it’s entertaining, and it is emotionally moving.”

Referring to the scenes showing the brutal persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners by the Chinese communist regime in today’s China, Ms. Ciancio said she was emotional watching the “struggles that the Chinese people have to endure, and in some cases, still are enduring.”

But she also saw other themes in the performance.

“You also see the patriotism, and the country, and the unification … of the dancers and their feelings.”

Watching Shen Yun, in fact, brought Ms. Ciancio “much closer” to the Chinese culture, she said.

Through the show, “you feel the unity of the people, the dancers; everything that’s related to the whole thing is heart-warming. It’s just so fully accepting.”

Ms. Ciancio’s granddaughter, Justine Bessinger, a senior high school student and a ballet dancer, was amazed by the timing of the dancers in the performance.

“It’s very inspiring … we can’t do some of those movements, and it’s just amazing to watch,” she said.

Elaborating further, Ms. Bessinger praised the choreography.

“You can just tell that they all work together and they just love what they’re doing, and that’s amazing to watch.”

Also coming to watch the show with Ms. Ciancio was Michael Dambrosio, a former director in Customs and Border Protection, before retiring.

“I’m really enjoying it. I find it charming. I love the colors. I love the choreography,” Mr. Dambrosio said.

He was also amazed by the animated digital backdrops used in the performance.

“I really like the interplay between the film, the large screen in the background, and then the characters actually coming down to the stage and appearing as real people,” Mr. Dambrosio said.

“I think that’s fantastic.”

With reporting by NTD Television

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.

For more information, visit


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