‘It was very moving’ Says French Professor

January 14, 2011 Updated: January 15, 2011

Sophie Raynard-Leroy felt lucky because she received the tickets to Shen Yun. (Courtesy of NTD Television)
Sophie Raynard-Leroy felt lucky because she received the tickets to Shen Yun. (Courtesy of NTD Television)
NEW YORK—Good fortune brought Sophie Raynard-Leroy and Isabelle Theimann to the David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, on Friday night, where the Shen Yun Performing Arts New York Company was performing in its eighth night of a 10-show run.

Ms. Raynard-Leroy, an associate professor of French literature at SUNY, felt lucky because she received the tickets to Shen Yun from listening to National Public Radio. She invited her friend Isabelle to take in the show with her.

Their good fortune brought them to see the 22 pieces performed by the New York-based company, which transports viewers back through royal courts of ancient China and presents them scenes of traditional daily life from the country's 5000-year history.

It was the first time that either of them had seen authentic Chinese classical dance.

Ms. Raynard-Leroy was moved by the dance Herding on the Grasslands.

“I loved the music there and the special effects, with the sound of the horses. It was very powerful,” she said.

This piece portrays horsemen galloping beneath blue skies and an aura of exhilarating strength. The dancers evoke powerful images of Mongolia’s expansive wilderness as they capture the high spirits and warm hearts of its people.

Isabelle Theimann, sales manager of Bowne Translation Services, particularly noted Shen Yun's high-tech digital background. (Courtesy of NTD Television)
Isabelle Theimann, sales manager of Bowne Translation Services, particularly noted Shen Yun's high-tech digital background. (Courtesy of NTD Television)
“But I think my favorite was the teacher part, because it was very moving,” said Ms. Raynard-Leroy. Entitled Our Story, this piece tells of a beloved teacher who guides her pupils not just in the art of writing, but in life as a whole.

One day the teacher writes the Chinese characters for “truth,” “benevolence,” and “forbearance” on the blackboard. These three words, which were once essential values in classical China, are central to the spiritual discipline known as Falun Dafa, which is currently banned in the mainland.

After the teacher writes these words, state police burst into her classroom and take her away. Her students, who remained by her side, are ultimately rewarded for their courage and conviction with a miraculous scene.

Ms. Theimann, sales manager of Bowne Translation Services said, “I think the combination of the choreography and visual effects of the background was very striking, very different.” Shen Yun’s high-tech digital background is projected on a screen behind the performers. It casts images that coordinate with the costumes, colors, lighting, storyline, music, and choreography of each dance.

“I also liked the piece with the pink flowers … and the silk effects,” said Ms. Theimann, referring to the piece Plum Blossoms.

“I love any dance which is very visual, so I think the way they use the dresses [in the dance] is very striking.” The Shen Yun costumes are handmade original designs created to meticulously enhance the choreography.

Also in Friday night’s audience were a couple from Long Island, Catherine Piazza, a realtor for Coldwell Banker, and Anthony Martucci, a technician.

“We love it, it’s exciting, it’s beautiful. And it’s actually relaxing, believe it or not, it is," said Ms. Piazza. "Beautiful! The colors and just everything about it—the way it is coordinated, and everything.”

Mr. Martucci added, “The performers are just excellent!”

Reporting by NTD Television and Sophia Bronwen.

Shen Yun Performing Arts will perform at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater through Jan. 16. For more information visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org