Miss Dakota’s Gown Designer Inspired by Shen Yun’s Costumes

January 12, 2014 2:22 am Last Updated: January 12, 2014 6:33 am

NEW YORK—Audiences from as far away a South Dakota attended Shen Yun Performing Arts’ Lincoln Center performance on the evening of Jan.11. And one of them was Anita Kealey, the designer who created Miss Dakota’s dress, which was the first eco-friendly dress worn at a Miss America pageant. 

“This performance was wonderful, just fantastic,” Ms. Kealey said. 

“And on top of it all is my birthday,” she said. “So it’s a wonderful way to experience and to have a wonderful memory of New York.”

Shen Yun, a non-profit classical Chinese dance group, was founded by Chinese artists who gathered in New York in 2006. It was founded with the mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. 

Ms. Kealey also said she was impressed by Shen Yun’s advanced digital projection, which accompanied each act. The digital backdrops transported the audience from lush Mongolian plains to the elegant Manchurian court. 

“The animation is just incredible, just a wonderful experience,” Ms. Kealey said. 

Ms. Kealey said she was taken back by the colors of the show, particularly the fabrics. 

“The color and textures and the chiffons, the beauty of everything is inspirational,” she said. 

“It’s good timing because I’m here for color inspiration and forecasting,” Ms. Kealey said. “It’s a good way to be inspired in working on my next collection.”

Shen Yun’s costumes feature a variety of designs, from traditional Han attire to the dazzling outfits of the Miao ethnic group, who wear skirts that can have up to 40 layers.

The Miao skirts are decorated with bright brocades, detailed embroidery, and fine cross-stitch work, according to the Shen Yun website. 

“They’re very on with the color.” Ms. Kealey said. “In fact the number one color for 2014 is radiant orchid, it was seen in the show tonight.”

“Very warm, inspirational, very happy,” she said. “Those colors actually radiate that.”

Ms. Kealey also said the cultural themes of the show were relatable to her own life.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “We’re ultimately trying to find peace, happiness, and community. I think that’s very clear.”

Reporting by NTD and Amelia Pang. 

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts. 

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.