PITTSBURGH—Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012, Sheena Monnin, was at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday evening, Feb. 16, taking in the extravaganza of classical Chinese dance and music presented by New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts.
Ms. Monnin, who will be competing for the title of Miss USA in June, has a Master’s degree in Psychology with an ambition to earn a doctorate in theology.
“The show has been amazing,” she said at intermission.
Ms. Monnin was most impressed by the intricacy of the dancers’ movements, saying, “The hand movements and the delicacy of the strength combined, it’s been just amazing.”
She particularly enjoyed the dance Joyful Little Monks, where, according to the program, the serenity of a secluded monastery invites pure thoughts and peaceful living, while the monks, eager to do well, put their hearts into their work—with fun and humorous results.
“It was so cute,” Ms. Monnin said.
She also recalled the dance, Lotus Leaves, in which the dancers’ unique full-circle fans sway like lily pads in the wind, evoking scenes of a flowering lotus garden in the summertime.
“That was really beautiful as well,” she said.
Ms. Monnin captured the essence of the many aspects of the performance, including the Shen Yun Orchestra that combines classical Western and traditional Chinese instruments, the ornate costumes, and the story telling of the myths and legends of ancient China.
She said: “The music for sure is amazing, and just the way they tell a story without even saying words. The way the costumes are so brightly colored, as well as the facial expressions.
“Everything is just visually very perfect and very beautiful.”
Shen Yun includes two emcees whose narration provides background and conveys the significance of each piece.
“I think it’s really helpful to have the emcees up there explaining a little bit, because it is nice to follow the story visually but to hear it as well is really important.
“It’s been a really beautiful evening so far, I’m excited,” she said.
Ms. Monnin said she would tell others that Shen Yun is “a must see show.”
“It’s been awesome. If you want a moving and emotional experience, then come see it,” she added.
Reporting by Pamela Tsai and Anna Stute.
New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company will next perform in St. Louis at the Peabody Opera House, Feb. 18 to 19.
For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org.