Joffrey Ballet Dancer on Shen Yun: ‘It brings out the culture’

NEW YORK—Joffrey Ballet School dancer Amanda Sommers found a lot to like at the April 28 matinee of Shen Yun Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

“It is very, very good,” said Ms. Sommers. “It is very interesting with all the colors, and the arm movements, and the long lines, the extensions of both the principal male and female dancers.”

“Every costume in a Shen Yun performance is presented with brilliant colors, displaying a splendid spectacle,” says the Shen Yun website. The handmade costumes are from the different dynasties of China’s 5,000-year history and various ethnic groups.

Ms. Sommers said, “I was very surprised about how they have the background with all the animations.”

Digital animation enhances the visual effect of the dances, such as The Emperor Journeys to the Moon, in which the moon goddess and her attendants take Emperor Tang Xuanzong up to a celestial scene.

The Shen Yun website elaborates: “With state-of-the-art graphics technology, Shen Yun’s digital-backdrop team creates vividly animated settings, extending the stage and transporting the audience to a world where heaven and earth are one.”

Ms. Sommers also liked “the long costumes on the arms.” Long sleeves help display the feminine grace in Ancient Elegance and the strength of the male dancers in Han Imperial Air.

Ms. Sommers, who started learning dance at age 3, heard about Shen Yun through her dance community. As a dancer looking at classical Chinese dance for the first time, Ms. Sommers noted in Shen Yun the jumps and turning movements.

Shen Yun elaborates on its website: “All these jumping, turning, and flipping techniques, along with the exquisiteness of the bearing and form, give classical Chinese dance special expressivity. It is able to transcend ethnic, cultural, and even linguistic barriers, taking this well-established Chinese culture and presenting its essence to the world.”

Ms. Sommers noted that “almost every single dance” is based on China’s divine culture. “It brings out the culture very well.”

The website says: “Principles such as benevolence and justice, propriety and wisdom, respect for the heavens, and divine retribution, all come to life, washing over the audience. Originating from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, these ideals are the essence of traditional Chinese culture.”

Reporting by Gloria Gao and John Nania

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The next performances in 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.