NEW YORK—Fisher Travel CEO Bill Fisher took a journey through 5,000 years of Chinese civilization Friday evening when he saw Shen Yun at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater with Ms. Alli Abbott.
“The movements, the dance performance, I think they were all fantastic,” Mr. Fisher said.
Mr. Fisher, son of a Brooklyn restaurateur, runs a luxury travel agency so exclusive even Sylvester Stallone was not accepted without a recommendation from another client. The joining fee alone is $100,000.
New York-based Shen Yun is something Mr. Fisher wants to recommend to family and friends.
“[It’s] something that’s uplifting, something that you’d want to go see,” Mr. Fisher said.
Shen Yun was established in 2006 by a group of artists from around the world, with the mission of reviving the divinely inspired Chinese culture through the universal languages of music and dance, according to its website.
On Friday, Alexander and Victoria Davies landed in New York, coming from Paris. The following morning they headed to a café, where Mr. Davies by chance found a Shen Yun advertisement. It caught his attention, and the couple had free time, so on a whim, they attended the Jan. 17 matinee at Lincoln Center.
“We’re very happy that we went,” Mrs. Davies said. “Very beautiful, very spectacular.”
Mrs. Davies, who works in marketing, was classically trained in ballet in Russia, where she grew up. It was her first encounter with classical Chinese dance, and it was a marvel.
“[The] dance is magnificent,” she said. “And I think the idea is very nice, that all we want is love, and beauty, and freedom, and spirituality.”
At the heart of traditional Chinese culture are ideals like benevolence, wisdom, and respect for the divine. These ideals are revived by Shen Yun, its website explains. The couple noticed this through what they thought was a uniquely expressive quality in the dance.
Classical Chinese dance has three main parts: technique, form, and bearing. Technique encompasses basic skill along with the difficult tumbling, jumping, and flips. Form entails specific movements and postures. Bearing is best described as the “inner spirit.” It emphasizes internal spirit, breath, intent, personal aura, and emotional expression.
As Shen Yun’s website explains, “in essence, the spirit leads form, so that form is imbued with spirit.”
“I was very emotional. I felt very connected to the dancers, in the sense that they were giving a lot of feeling to what they are doing,” Mr. Davies said. “I could feel that wide range of emotion.”
And what they were expressing was “the good qualities of humans,” Mr. Davies added.
“I think it has the big idea behind it,” Mrs. Davies said.
In the audience Friday night was Ms. Freesia Sarmiento, a counselor at SUNY, who attended the performance with her husband as a birthday gift.
As the emcees explained, Shen Yun translates into “the feel of divine beings dancing.” And it held true for Ms. Sarmiento.
“It’s just wholly spiritual,” Ms. Sarmiento said. “I’m a very spiritual person, and it makes me think about a lot of things … it makes me feel of the creator, of being a human being.”
Ms. Sarmiento said she felt lucky sitting where she was, watching Shen Yun.
“[It’s] terrific, a lot of energy, a lot of excitement,” Ms. Sarmiento said.
Reporting by Pamela Tsai and Catherine Yang
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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.